The joy of winter walks

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 23rd February 2016

IMG_2303The wide Dorset sky is bright blue today and in a minute I’ll be off to the Purbeck Literary Festival to hear the fabulous Jill Mansell talk about her new book, You and Me, Always.

The weather looks so glorious that I’m planning to eschew the car, wrap up warm and walk the mile or so to the Grand Hotel, the clifftop hotel with breathtaking views across Swanage Bay.

By the time I get there I’ll no doubt be puffing and panting and bright red in the face – but I’ll still feel good for abandoning my desk and getting some exercise. Actually, I enjoy winter walks far more than summer strolls. The streets are less busy, the air is fresh and if you keep up a steady pace you stop feeling cold after a few minutes.

It’s fascinating to read, therefore, that researchers from the University of Cambridge have just published a study saying parents should encourage their children to be more active during the winter, particularly at weekends.

Apparently youngsters are less active and spend far more time sitting indoors in the autumn and winter than at other times of the year – even though public health guidelines state that children should get at least an hour a day of “moderate to vigorous intensity” physical activity. This could be brisk walking, running, playing sport or exercising, but experts reckon that children should minimise the amount of time they spend lounging around inside for hours on end.

I reckon the same applies to adults. Whether I’m walking to meetings in London (when I reach my daily target of 10,000 steps far more easily than in the countryside) or wandering along the wild Dorset coastline I feel so much better for being outside. Speaking of which, I’d better get my walking shoes on…

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