Healthy Tahoe: Fuel up on Vitamin N(ature)
Exercise is one of the most positive actions you can take for your health — especially activities that can be enjoyed outdoors. Though cold temperatures and fewer daylight hours can present challenges during the winter, getting outside is not only packed with variety and adventure, it’s full of mental and physical benefits as well.
Time in nature is proven to be good for your health. It lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels while increasing concentration, memory, and attention span. Getting out with a group may provide even more benefits, including meaningful social interaction, decreased stress, and increased sense of purpose.
When the weather permits, get outside and enjoy a little fresh air. The possibilities are endless, and whether you choose to walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski, go sledding, or build a snowman, you can find joy in simply spending time outdoors.
Some activities, such as shoveling heavy snow, can be strenuous. The combination of sudden, vigorous activity and cold weather can put extra strain on your heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, talk with your health care provider about any precautions you may need to take.
When walking outdoors, dress for success. Bundle up in layers of clothing, warm socks, and waterproof shoes. Don’t forget a hat and gloves. Slick surfaces are a major cause of falls, so avoid iced-over trails and snow that might collapse underfoot.
Ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin (N)ature this winter. Whatever the weather, you can always find creative ways to keep moving.
Keith Tanenbaum is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Barton Health. Keith leads Barton Wellness Outings, monthly group walks on U.S. Forest Service land including popular sites such as Camp Richardson Resort, Taylor Creek Visitor Center, and Tallac Historic Site. For more information on opportunities to get outside, visit BartonHealth.org/WellnessOutings.
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