The holiday season brings with it so many traditions: hiking, Christmas (or other traditions), snow angels, family get-togethers, and of course, a respite from the hustle and bustle of busy work life. These are all things that we look forward to during the final days of the year.

Trees next to snow on the ground

It is a transition time that marks both the end of the year as well as the dawning of the next. But, unfortunately, it can also be a period of inactivity as people hunker indoors.

After all, work and stress are two of the last things people want to think about during the holidays. But, here’s a compromise – Winter hiking.

The Cold Burns More Fat

Your body is going to try to counteract the cold the moment you step outside. This is the primary reason why we shiver, but even when you aren’t shivering, you’d still be burning more fat on a winter walk because the body raises the metabolic rate by up to 40% in the cold.

An increased metabolic rate means that your body’s going to be using up nutrients at an increased rate. The best part is that this effect lasts for another 48-72 hours after you’ve finished hiking, which means that your body will still be burning fat.

A More Thorough Cardio Session

As previously mentioned, cold weather causes the body to make certain adjustments in an attempt to normalize conditions. One of these adjustments is to constrict the capillaries, which in turn, restricts the flow of blood.

This allows your body to retain heat while decreasing your supply of oxygenated blood, which isn’t necessarily bad if your goal is to get your heart rate up.

Despite the decrease of oxygenated blood and the fact that you aren’t exactly exerting as much as you would during a run, you’re able to achieve the same effects.

Lateral Muscle Activation

Snow and ice make for perilous terrain. In order to stabilize ourselves and maintain balance as we traverse slippery pathways, we have to engage muscles that we don’t necessarily need during ideal weather conditions.

The activation of the lateral muscles significantly helps with strengthening your joints, which also improves your resistance to injury.

As you build these muscles into more skeletal muscle mass, you’ll have more areas in your body that are capable of burning fat, which means that you’re going to get toned more quickly.

That Feel-Good Feel

Whether you attain that post-workout feeling after reaching the summit, walking in the sun or breathing the fresh air during a nature walk, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and that feel-good endorphin rush.

This feel-good feeling will significantly contribute to your mental and emotional well-being. It could even help kickstart a fitness routine that went dormant the moment you took a break for the holidays.

Do you really have to choose between enjoying the holidays and maintaining your fitness routine? Apparently not. But always ensure that you’re properly equipped for the task.

Look for proper outdoor clothing. You also need to ensure that you have sufficient food, water, as well as emergency supplies before setting out.

Pinterest pin of a group of people hiking in the woods

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