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5 Ways to Make the most of your Winter Walk

  

Our world is being turned upside down once again, and this time, in the depths of winter, we are perhaps not feeling quite as energetic as back in spring last year.

Many people are experiencing issues such as depression, anxiety and general fed-up-ness, and although a vaccine programme is currently being rolled out, the next few weeks of lockdown are going to tough for many people.

Walking is a physical activity that could be the ticket out of the doldrums. It’s easy, it’s free and most of us can fit walking into our daily lives, especially now that many of us are at home, working and homeschooling.

 

Where to walk

The Tees Valley is a wonderful region to explore by foot, and you don't have to go far to find a green space or woodland to enjoy, whatever the weather!

We have a series of walking and cycling maps that covers the whole Tees Valley area, and they can be found in our cycling section here:

Find walking and cycling maps

 

Why walk?

So, why is regular walking so good for us, and how can we make it as beneficial for our minds as our bodies? There's something amazing about being outdoors and amongst nature. Head for your local park for an immediate mood boost and for longer-term benefits:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Calories burnt
  • Feel more connected with nature and the environment
  • Boosted immune system
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep

It only takes 10 or 15 minutes of being in the open air to feel the benefits, so what's stopping you!

 

5 ways to make the most of your walk

Here are our top five tips to get the most out of your walks this winter...

1: Pick up the pace

Walking faster raises the heart rate, turning a wander into a workout! Don’t forget to change into your trainers (or wellies!) for a more comfortable experience.

2: Or slow it down!

For a more mindful meander, stop every few minutes and let your senses take over - what can you see, smell, hear or feel around you? Why not try an 'Awe-Walk', where you consciously notice and appreciate your surroundings. Find out more here: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-right-mindset/202011/what-are-awe-walks

3: Go on a mental nature hunt

Make a mental note of the cute (and not-so-cute) critters you spot along the way. Being more aware of life around you helps you connect with nature and the environment. If you're looking for inspiration of what to look out for, The Woodland Trust provides some seasonal ideas of what you might find on your way.

4: Listening time

Use the time on your walk to catch up on your favourite podcast or music, or listen to an audio book. Walking is one of the few activities we can do without interruption and it’s the perfect time to escape into a different world.

5: Walk and talk

Walking with a family member, or a friend (yes, you can meet one other person outside your household or bubble during lockdown!) gives you both an opportunity to talk openly in a relaxed and non-confrontational way. It is especially important to be able to talk to someone when our lives are being disrupted - again - and our stress levels are rising.

  

There are so many physical and mental health benefits to walking, it's no wonder it is being hailed as one of the best ways to stay active during the lockdown. And at this time of year, with frosty mornings and winter wonderlands to enjoy, maybe there's no better time to get out there and walk.

For more advice and inspiration on walking in the Tees Valley, head to our Walking section!


By Georgina at 7 Jan 2021, 17:17 PM

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