Last night I saw the Nike commercial where the (super-cool) Chris O’Dowd challenges viewers to “choose their winter." In it, the brand takes a satirical approach to tackling the harsh outdoor elements. Rather than running out to purchase Nike’s outdoor gear, I contemplated on how to choose my winter.
My living room window frames a beautiful picture of snowflakes gently falling on smooth dunes of snow. It’s a gorgeous scene to focus on for yoga today. But I don’t want the chilly temperature to stop me from connecting with nature. So I choose to put on my ski pants, jacket, hats, mittens and boots and get outside.
After 10 minutes of vigorous walking, I’m warm enough to stop and enjoy the stillness and practice a mini yoga routine. Alternating walking and yoga a few more times brings me back to my front door refreshed.
Choosing to be outdoors and getting fresh air is good for overall well-being – while staying indoors can make us feel sluggish and un-motivated.
BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS IN WINTER- Sunlight keeps away SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and triggers vitamin D which is important for keeping bones strong.
- Walking and balancing on different terrains (like snow) burns more calories, strengthens core muscles, stabilizers, and ankle joints.
- Endorphins are released when your blood starts pumping in your body, making you feel better and make your skin glow.
- The hushed beauty of a blanket of fresh snow is enchanting.
- No mosquitoes.
- Coming inside to a warm cup of hot tea or cocoa.
So next time you feel the fear of the freeze, choose to call up a friend for an outdoor activity, bundle up and let nature refresh you.
Gwendolyn Penner is a graphic designer and yogi who loves to be outdoors especially on a hiking or cycling trail. She is founder of Yoga Hikes whose purpose is to encourage people to connect with health, nature and community and to experience the uniqueness of Winnipeg by hiking and practicing yoga in different parks ... year round. Visit Yoga Hikes at: www.idlingporsche.com