For us, November is the transition from fall to winter. It can make us lazy. Animals either migrate, hibernate or insulate to survive winter’s onslaught. We’re animals too; so if you’re not migrating to warmer climates – don’t hibernate – insulate and get outside for a walk!
Preferably breathe in fresh, clean air on a park trail or forest path with a friend. Absorb those health-giving aromatic and volatile oils exuded from trees — that’s forest bathing.
Brisk walking is the easiest, most basic and effective exercise. All you need is 30 minutes per day to promote weight control and total health fitness. You can break it down into three 10 minute sessions or so. Walking helps fend off most of our modern diseases and ailments. It helps prevent or control obesity and depression — the top two causes of chronic diseases today.
Get this!: Walking helps prevent and/or cures heart disease, most cancers, stroke, diabetes, heart attacks, anxiety, back pain, high blood pressure, abdominal fat, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, colds, high cholesterol, headaches, menstrual cramps, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, hearing loss, impotence, prostate growth, gout, glaucoma, gallstones, constipation, eases emphysema, regulates BMs, and much, much more. Walking boosts the immune system, regulates serotonin and dopamine, and releases endorphins.
Walking can greatly assist in recovering from injuries. I’m living proof! Even with plates and pins around my ankles and hip replacements I graduated from a wheelchair to a walker, and with the help of a wonderful physiotherapist, to hiking poles in less than two years. I can dance again, too.
Vitamin D, from 15 minutes of sunshine, helps avert osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hip fractures, cavities, PMS, and colon and prostate cancers. Sunlight can remedy insomnia, fatigue, depression and asthma.
Most of these ailments and diseases are a result of our indoor, sedentary, overeating, chemical-rich lifestyle. Regular exercise, healthy diet and good relationships are the key to a better disease-free life. Walking is a great way to start. Convinced? Check out Vernon’s Ribbons of Green website for the best list and maps of our trails.
We’re lucky to have so many year-round accessible trails and Silver Star on our doorstep. Good on you (literally) if you can get up the hill to enjoy cross country skiing or snowshoeing starting this November. I fondly remember the exhilarating feeling of swishing through those first November snowfalls on skate skis. Talk about endorphins!
Need buddies to walk with? Check out the North Okanagan Naturalist Club and Vernon Outdoors Club websites. Or search for Vernon hiking groups on Facebook. Of course, wear a brimmed hat, sunglasses and cover up with sunscreen or cotton sleeves and pants during strong sunlight hours and seasons. You can observe and enjoy nature while walking, too.
German forester, Peter Wohlleben, has written some of my favourite nature books on trees, animals, weather, etc. He’s interested in “reclaiming our sensitivity to nature and reawakening our powers of observation that have been buried under the clutter of modernity. When we use our senses at full capacity, we access the wealth of thrilling and calming experiences waiting for us just outside our back doors, in nature… The world seems to expand when we’re able to appreciate it in all its diversity. I hope you find many new discoveries when you’re out and about.”
So — bundle up, get outdoors and enjoy walking!
This article is written for the Vernon Morning Star by Roseanne Van Ee. Roseanne enthusiastically shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Discover exciting and adventurous natural events, best trails, and wild places. Follow her on Facebook for more.