How To Hiking Guide - Walking In The White Stuff
Posted at 10:00 - 25th November - Sarah Booth
When it comes to hiking, the cold temperatures, dark evenings and general wintertime lethargy quite literally stops people in their tracks.
However, the benefits of heading out into the white stuff massively out weighs the initial discomfort of leaving the warmth of your home, and can help you feel exhilarated and alive.
Here are our top three motivations to get out there and enjoy the winter wonderland.
Increase Your Fitness and Fat Burning Capacity
In colder temperatures, your body naturally needs to work harder to stay warm. Add that to the physical demands of hiking through snow, and you can use up to 34% more calories in energy expenditure than summer hiking. Spending time in cold weather also switches on your body’s production of brown fat, which is a type of soft tissue that contains a high number of calorie-hungry mitochondria that use regular fat as fuel.
Cooler temperatures also increase the production of the hormone irisin, which is typically secreted during exercise to burn extra calories and suppress the production of white fat cells.
Enjoy the Benefits Of Off Peak Season
Just like the all-inclusive holiday fight for sun-beds, the more popular hiking destinations are often swarming with people battling their way to the top! Hiking in the snow is pretty much an ironclad guarantee for solace and freedom from most other humans! It’s a great opportunity to enjoy quiet trails, deep silence, transformed landscapes and the occasional glimpse of hawks, pine martins, red squirrels, or foxes.
Boost Your Immunity
Throw the sunlamp away and boost your Vitamin D levels on the mountains. Although the daily hours of sunshine are fewer, snow has the magical capability of reflecting all the available light back onto you – if you are out there! This can also help combat the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is generally brought on over the colder, darker months. If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety and depression, a cold, refreshing hike can help you feel more connected and alive.
Hiking through snow is an exhilarating experience that can help turn the traditional disdain for winter into excitement for what the white stuff has to offer. As always be mindful of your safety and the safety of others, remember to set off nice and early so you’re not descending in darkness and respect that your pace will be slower than summer hiking, so always factor that into your plans.