When people think of hiking or spending time outside, they often imagine it happening in the warmer months of the year. Spring offers cool temps but sunny skies and brand-new greenery around, while fall offers cooler but manageable temps, as well as gorgeous foliage to take in while you go. Many people don't think of hiking as a winter activity. In reality, however, winter may be one of the best times to go hiking. There are many surprising benefits you can take advantage of by hiking in the winter, and they may end up providing you a more enjoyable and beneficial hiking experience than hiking in any other season would. Here are the most surprising benefits of hiking in the winter. (Don't be shocked if you find yourself lacing up your hiking boots and hopping in your car after reading this article.)
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that every human needs for physical and mental health. While it can be taken in supplement form, the main source of vitamin D is sunshine. During the winter, it's very common for people to become deficient in vitamin D. This can cause their mood to plummet, and they may end up experiencing things like seasonal affective disorder or chemical depression. Want to avoid these terrible feelings of sadness that can come from spending too much time indoors in the winter? Get outside and hike. If you make sure to time your hike after sunrise and before sunset, you can ensure that you'll get the sun on your face and that it will be warm enough for you to enjoy the hike safely (and work up a sweat!)
There are some places in America that are just too hot to hike in the summer. For example, parts of Death Valley and the desert in Nevada are too hot to safely wander through in the warmer months. However, it is safer to explore these regions when winter has arrived. Thanks to the cooler weather, you can see some glorious places that are not viewable when the sun is blazing. If you are planning to go somewhere that gets super hot, make sure you check the weather report before you go, even in the wintertime. In this day and age, the weather can be unpredictable, and you don't want to show up on an unexpectedly hot day overdressed or without the proper amount of water.
If you are hiking to get a workout in, or it is part of your regimen to lose weight, winter hiking is a powerful exercise choice. This is because you don't just get your heart rate up traversing the trails in the wintertime. You also have to get your heart beating to warm your body up. Because your body needs to work extra to keep itself warm, you end up boosting your metabolism and the number of calories you burn. By burning more calories while you hike, you not only burn more fat but boost your overall metabolic rate, so you burn more calories during the day, even after your hike is over.
There's no doubt about it. Spending time indoors in warm heated air is very drying both for your skin and for the inside of your body. The more time you can spend out of the heat, the less drying your body will experience. Spend the day hiking outside, and you can soak up the natural air from the great outdoors, and minimize the time you spend sitting in the ultra-dry, furnace-heated air of your house or office. Being dry doesn't only make your skin flaky and itchy, it also dries out your respiratory system, which can cause uncomfortable symptoms like coughing, nosebleeds, dry mouth, increased thirst, increased need for hydration, and more. Hiking in the winter isn't just good for your mood and mental health, it's good for the whole of your body too.
Do you want to hike all winter, get healthy, and be comfortable while you do it? Get started by shopping at Pike Trail. At Pike Trail, we sell only research-backed, tried-and-tested outdoor gear that will help you stay safe and comfortable while you're out in the cold. You can order everything from hiking gaiters to pocket blankets, so you're prepared no matter what scenario you encounter out in the wilderness. And one of the best parts about Pike Trail is that our prices are affordable, so you can get all the equipment you need for a successful venture without having to worry about the cost while you enjoy the great outdoors. Check out the selection at Pike Trail today, then plan your trip. You won't regret getting out of your home and into the wilderness this winter.