Saturday, April 30, 2022

Walking - the benefits of Cold Air

Of course, as I write this, spring is finally arriving in full force - which makes me very happy. I love to see the spring flowers and the budding and blooming trees. But there is still merit in sharing about the benefits of walking, even when it is cold. In fact, one article I read encouraged you to keep the top of your coat open and skip the scarf to ensure that you had enough exposure to cold air when walking.

I had heard long ago that a cold shower is a good thing. I know that it can help in the summer if you rinse in cold water at the end of your shower. I know that the cold water is good for your hair and helps close the strands when rinsed in cold water. I know that it helps me be less itchy in the dry months of winter. At the end of each shower, I turn the faucet back half way and quickly rinse in the cold water.

This year though, was the first time that I had read that walking outside in the cold air and skipping the scarf and leaving your collar loose was a good thing. According to the article, citing NIH, exposing your collar bone to the cold activates fat-burning cells called brown adipose tissue, which sits in pockets around the neck and shoulders and has impressive calorie-burning powers. The cold air doesn't create the brown adipose tissue just activates it, but the good news is that exercise (which walking is) develops the tissue. So, in walking in the winter, you can both develop the brown adipose and activate it for calorie burning power.

I am glad to learn of these addiitonal potential benefits but I have to be honest. I like walking in the cold of winter because I like the fresh, crisp, clean air. I like overcoming the sluggishness that I sometimes feel in the winter when getting in a walk is an invigorating, blood pumping way to eliminate the sluggishness. Of course, if you walk in winter, be wary of the ice. I took a few spills this winter but thankfully all but one was a graceful slide to bent knees - one was an unexpected tail bone bruising fall to my backside.

Of course, this week, I may be able to ditch the jacket for most walks and soon, it will be time for shorts and wishing it weren't so hot on my walk.