Walking in Winter Woods

The Benefits of Charity Walks When the Weather is Colder

Taking a walk in the colder months is a fairly popular pastime – particularly around Christmas and the New Year. In our family it’s a tradition to go for a walk on New Year’s Day, as a bracing and sobering way to counter the festive overindulgence and reflect on the year ahead. Except that we normally go for a meal afterwards, thus undoing the calorie burning! On a fine day though, with cold but sunny weather, this is the perfect way to mark the year just passed and prepare for the year ahead.

If you are like us and enjoy walking when the weather is crisp, why not find a good cause to support while you do it? Local walks at this time of year near me include the Swindon Wheelie Walks Challenge, aimed at parents with pushchairs and those in wheelchairs; Introduction to Tolkien Walk in Moseley Bog, where JRR Tolkien was inspired to write the Hobbit and other stories; and in March there will be Motability’s Walkability event in the Wirral, Merseyside. Why not leave the names of winter walks taking place near you in the comments?

Whichever walk you decide to do, there are several benefits of doing it, for both the charity and yourself:

Raising Money and Awareness

Of course, the primary reason for walking for charity is to raise money. There are two main ways to raise the funds – by either paying for registration or for the guide if the walk will be a tour, or by asking people to sponsor you. The latter is a better option if you will be walking a great distance, such as in the Walkability I mentioned above, which is 12 miles in length. Even if you only raise a modest sum for the charity, every penny counts, and the awareness of the charity will be boosted due to the publicity of the organised walk, which you are taking part in.

Put a New Year’s Resolution into Effect

Are you among the millions who have decided that 2013 is the year to do more exercise? Walking for charity is an enjoyable way to meet this promise and because you’ll be having fun and sharing the experience with other people, you’ll hardly notice the exercise! Plus, the psychological effect of signing up for a charity walk and publicly asking for sponsors helps to make sure you actually carry it out – instead of putting it off as with other exercise.

See and Experience Nature

Most of us are naturally inclined to spend more time indoors when the weather is dark and cold, but this means that you miss out on the changes taking place in the world around you. A good deal of the time, charity walks go through parks and other scenic areas. Take the time to observe wildlife, birds, plants and trees and to enjoy the winter landscape. The branches of trees look dramatic against the sky, robins are a colourful flash of red and you may come across deer, badgers or foxes, depending where in the world you are.

Feel Good

Not only will you have the feel-good factor of raising money for charity, but exercise boosts endorphins and walking out in sunlight can prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). Such a simple remedy for the winter blues at your fingertips!

So why not wrap up warm and get involved sometime soon?

This is a guest post from Liz at Must Have Gifts, the charity gifts website from World Vision. Look out for charity Mother’s Day gifts that give to more than one person this March.