The dark winter is almost over and spring is around the corner. That means warmer weather and more daylight hours per day. Time to go for a nice walk! Below you will find 5 reasons why it is healthy to walk in the spring.
The benefits of a spring walk
Many people eagerly look forward to the first signs of spring during the winter months. They count the increasing minutes of daylight per day and scan the barren winter ground for the first green sprouts of snowdrops and crocuses. Especially if you have experienced a winter dip, you can embrace the first signs of spring with a sigh of relief. Most people feel themselves come back to life a little in the spring, just like a large part of nature. But spring also has its own challenges: some people become overly energetic and may experience sleep problems, while others suffer from spring fatigue, causing them to feel sleepy and lack energy and motivation. Some people also experience concentration problems in the spring. In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons why regularly going for walks in the spring can help you stay fit and healthy throughout the season!
1. Walking in the spring stimulates blood circulation
Good blood circulation is essential for a healthy body and a well-functioning mind. If your blood flow is not optimal, your body cells receive less oxygen and nutrients than they need to function properly. If you have poor blood circulation, you may experience cold and tingling limbs that sometimes turn slightly blue. Poor circulation can also be a cause of dry skin, brittle nails, and hair loss. Your heart, muscles, and blood vessels are responsible for your blood circulation. Walking is one of the activities that support all these parts of your body. According to organizations like the Dutch Heart Foundation, sufficient exercise can reduce your risk of heart and vascular disease by 20-30% (1). Walking is an accessible form of exercise; you can do it almost anywhere, anytime, and it’s free. Often, walking for half an hour a day is already a great start to stimulate your blood circulation. Try to walk briskly so that your heart rate increases, and more oxygen can go to your muscles, cells, and tissues. This will give you more energy, and your brain will benefit as well. Research shows that regular walking also promotes blood flow to your brain (2). Therefore, you will feel fitter and more clear-headed when walking in the spring, especially if you suffer from spring fatigue. So, step over that threshold and get out into the fresh air!
2. With a spring walk you get vitamin D
Since sunlight is important for the production of vitamin D in our bodies, some people may experience a vitamin D deficiency during or after a dark winter. This can cause feelings of lethargy and fatigue, among other things. Now that the sun is shining longer in the spring, it’s wise to go for a walk in daylight. Even on cloudy spring days, you can get a significant boost from this. Your vitamin D levels can increase again and your body will slowly come out of hibernation mode.
3. A spring walk is good for your mood
Feeling a bit down and lack motivation to do anything? Overcome your reluctance and go for a half-hour walk outside! Several studies have shown that walking can have a positive effect on depression, bad mood, and anxiety problems (3). Walking might even counteract your tendency to withdraw and boost your self-confidence. For example, walking helps distract you from negative thoughts and focus your attention on your surroundings, thereby reducing rumination. It also gives a feeling of spaciousness and clarity in your mind. Moreover, walking can promote the production of endorphins in your body, which is also beneficial for your mood. If you cannot walk continuously for half an hour, try walking for 10 minutes three times a day. One study suggests that even a ten-minute brisk walk can work wonders for your mood (4).
4. Walking in the spring helps you sleep better
In spring, the days become longer and the nights shorter. The whole nature seems to awaken, which can make some people restless and have difficulty sleeping. Walking is a good remedy for sleep problems, according to research (5). Participants in studies experienced improvements in the quality of their sleep, and sometimes they also slept longer. The researchers are not exactly sure what causes the positive effect of daily walking on sleep. It may be due to the influence that walking in daylight has on your biological clock, which also affects your sleep-wake cycle. The positive influence of walking on your mood may also be a factor: having less stress and negative thoughts is often beneficial for your sleep.
5. Een lentewandeling boost je weerstand
Most people associate the winter months with getting sick, and that’s not surprising. Because we spend a lot of time indoors during the winter, it’s easier for us to infect each other with all kinds of viruses. But even in the spring, there are still plenty of colds and flu going around. Walking can improve your immunity and make you less susceptible to illness. A study that followed 1,000 participants during the flu season found that those who walked 30 to 45 minutes a day had over 40 percent fewer sick days and generally had less respiratory infections (6). If they did get sick, their symptoms were usually less severe. Daily walking for half an hour can therefore support your immune system.
Are you also going to take more walks in the spring?
Are you motivated after reading this article to start walking for at least 30 minutes every day to support your health? Then these tips will help you stick to this good habit, even after spring has passed. Because let’s face it: walking is always a gift for your body and mind, no matter the season!
- Invest in good shoes with proper heel support and a comfortable footbed to prevent blisters and other foot problems.
- Wear comfortable and flexible clothing that allows for ease of movement and makes you feel at ease.
- Preferably walk in a natural environment, or if not possible, choose quiet footpaths to really relax during your walk.
- Choose the right sun protection for your skin. The spring sun can be quite intense for your winter skin.
- Turn walking into a social activity, making it easier to stick to and allowing others to benefit from the advantages of walking. Make walking appointments with friends, family or colleagues, or walk your children to school.
- Make sure to replenish fluids, minerals and other nutrients in time. This can be done naturally with our delicious beetroot juice, celery juice or pineapple juice.
By incorporating these tips, you can easily make walking a part of your daily routine and enjoy the benefits of the beautiful spring season!
- Bewegen. (z.d.). Hartstichting. https://www.hartstichting.nl/gezond-leven/bewegen
- How walking benefits the brain: Researchers show that foot’s impact helps control, increase the amount of blood sent to the brain. (2017, 17 april). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141340.htm
- Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 08(02), 106. https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a
- Edwards, M. K., & Loprinzi, P. D. (2018). Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults. Health promotion perspectives, 8(3), 171–178. https://doi.org/10.15171/hpp.2018.23
- Gillihan, S. J. (2019, 19 oktober). Want to Sleep Better? Go for a Walk. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/think-act-be/201910/want-sleep-better-go-walk
- Nieman, D. C., Henson, D. A., Austin, M. D., & Sha, W. (2011). Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(12), 987–992. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2010.077875