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Winter walks: 5 reasons to embrace the cold

If you can resist the temptation to stay cosied up indoors, there’s something special about embracing the brisk chill of winter. Here at CG, we love nature – getting outside, getting our hands dirty, and enjoying a big breath of fresh air. Venturing out for a brisk walk offers an array of compelling benefits from invigorating your body and mind to uncovering the beauty of wintery landscapes ❄️ Here are 5 reasons to get outside, even in the depths of February! –

1. Increases microbial diversity

One of the easiest ways to naturally increase your microbial diversity is simply by being around different types of bacteria. The good news is that walking outside exposes you to MILLIONS of microbes that can benefit your health. Tens of thousands of different bacterial gene sequences can be found in a single air or soil sample; these microbes can colonise your body when exposed to them.1https://massivesci.com/articles/outdoor-green-space-microbiome-benefits-soil-air/ The more diverse your gut microbiome, the happier and healthier you’re likely to be!

2. Improves children’s health

Bring the kids too! It has been shown that exposing children to dirt and ‘germs’ is an essential part of establishing their immune system. There is an association between exposure to diverse bacterial communities in early life and reduced occurrence of asthma and allergies.2https://massivesci.com/articles/outdoor-green-space-microbiome-benefits-soil-air/ Being outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety too, benefiting children’s mental health and providing a break from screens and indoor routines. The little ones love this quality family time together too 💖

3. Boosts mental health

Studies have shown an association between lack of physical activity and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Taking a walk outside can reduce levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and stimulate the production of endorphins.3https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/exercise#Can-diet-impact-your-mental-health? Being outside in nature is naturally calming and helps lower stress4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981243/ – which is good news for your microbiome! People who have regular access to nature are also less likely to be on anti-depressants.5https://www.mdpi.com/2673-5318/3/1/8/htm Time outdoors will increase your exposure to vitamin D too, which plays a big part in serotonin production in your body.6https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25713056/#:~:text=Brain%20serotonin%20is%20synthesized%20from,serotonin%20synthesis%20is%20not%20optimal. Serotonin is also known as the HAPPY hormone. Sometimes you need alone time, sometimes you need a chat – whichever it is, a walk provides the perfect opportunity for either one. So enjoy some ‘me-time’ or invite a friend 🙂

4. Aids digestion

Moving your body encourages movement in your gut too. Feeling a bit bloated after a big meal? Take a walk! Going for a walk can help to diffuse trapped gas and reduce bloating. Regular physical exercise stimulates the muscles in your gut and helps to move food along. Light exercise like walking can push the blood to circulate through your stomach. This movement can get the bowels moving for many people so is a great, natural solution for constipation. A short walk after a meal can also lower your blood sugar.7https://www.healthline.com/health-news/aging-walking-after-meals-to-control-blood-sugar-spikes-061213 This effect will reduce those after-dinner cravings for “something sweet”!

5. Supports lymphatic and immune system

The lymphatic system is a key area of gut health that is impacted by movement. Did you know that approximately 70% of your immune system is located in your gut as lymphoid tissue? This lymph tissue is where you find your immune cells like lymphocytes, macrophages, and leucocytes.8https://naturopathy.ie/news/2021/09/09/how-to-boost-your-immune-system-naturally/ If there is ever a time you need to be proactive against getting sick, it’s during winter! At this time of year, we see more ‘bugs’ and viruses doing the rounds and indulge a little more on things like alcohol and sugar.

The lymphatic system is stimulated by muscle movement and getting your heart rate up. Walking can stimulate lymph flow, which is important for removing toxins, waste, and excess fluid from tissues. This helps your antibodies and immune cells to move more efficiently around your body to identify and remove harmful bacteria, viruses and invaders.9https://www.thehealthcoach.com/blog/winter-wellness-avoid-getting-sick/

If you need to warm up after, try our Creamy Prebiotic Soup or Isabella’s sweet potato & squash soup!

Questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays for bespoke advice on gut wellness.


Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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