Winter is the perfect time for gentle walking as long as you have warm jackets, sturdy boots and maybe a bowl of soup ready for your return. The Ramblers hold a Festival of Winter Walking every year and this, their 25th year, will be another celebration of the benefits of walking for physical and mental health.
The festival runs from 17th December to 8th January and they have groups all over the country. Their website has a location finder so you can see the nearest walks and groups to you. They also have a list of great walking routes for you to try on your own.
Think winter walking isn't for you? Here are 7 reasons why you should strap on your boots and head outdoors.
1. Walking reduces pain by keeping joints supple and muscles strong. It's one of the gentlest and safest ways you can start an exercise program.
2. Walking for periods of an hour or more will release greater levels of the neuro-transmitter serotonin, sometimes nicknamed the mood boosting hormone.
3. Walking over winter means you'll keep the Christmas weight off and last year's summer clothes will look good straight away come May.
4. The walking paths are clear without the summer vegetation so certain routes may be available only through the winter. Enjoy a view that only comes around once a year.
5. Lunchtime walks in winter time are great for office workers. They mean that you won't feel sticky or sweaty when you get back to your desk and they have been proven to increase productivity.
6. It's a flexible form of exercise you can do anywhere, anytime so it's an easy way to build a fitness routine in to your week.
7. Walking with a friend is a great alternative to coffee and cake. You have the same chance to chat whilst gaining strength instead of lbs.
Do you fancy getting out walking? Check out the Ramblers website for more information about the Festival of Winter Walking.