The Benefits of Walking Outside
Author: Tony Paz
On a very cold winter day not too long ago, I was out on a wooded trail only a few minutes from home. It was overcast and gray. The water falling from the sky couldn’t quite make up its mind whether it was rain, drizzle, or simply a fine mist permeating everything. The wind decided to show up too, directing some of the moisture sideways onto my face.
Yet there I was, moving along at a brisk pace to maintain a high body temperature in this not-so-pleasant morning. I was thinking over what a German friend once told me in accented English a few months earlier, “Zhere ist no zuch ting as bad veather. Only bad clothing choicez, ja?”
Indeed, my choice of boots, socks, pants, long sleeve shirt, rain jacket, hat, and a pair of light wool gloves turned out to work well as I remained mostly dry halfway into my two-hour “stroll” through the woods. I eventually removed my gloves since I was warming up while moving at such a quick pace.
I actually slowed down just a bit so as not to work up a sweat. Why was I doing this on such a cold day? I decided to opt for an activity that would help work off the cornucopia of food I’d been eating over the holidays and one that would also offer an opportunity to reflect.
With so much bustle all around us, I was particularly thankful that cold day to enjoy some quiet time. On a trail in the woods. Alone with the sounds and smells. I reflected on a variety of things, assessing past events, brainstorming new ideas, making lists.
In the end, my body rewarded my mind with renewed energy and a sense of accomplishment. A walk outside is a relatively simple thing to do that offers so many benefits to the mind, body, and spirit.
Now that winter is giving way to spring, we’ll have longer days, more temperate climate and many opportunities to be outside. If cold weather has discouraged you from getting outdoors, now is a good time to lighten the load of the “everyday” and go take a walk in the woods.
Tony Paz is director of TAPS Outdoor Engagement.
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