Arctic Walking

Mary Tweed
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The news this week, is dominated by the Siberian weather front that is blowing in from the East and that is predicted to render the UK colder than the North Pole. The temptation during a cold snap is to hunker down, stay inside and avoid exercise. However it is vital to move your body in order to stay warm. Some people may be put off from venturing outdoors by the cold itself and others worry about the actual conditions that this cold snap will bring with it.

With this arctic weather, I will plan warm-ups that last a little longer than usual, to make sure that everyone’s muscles are suitably prepared for the class. There will be ice on the ground, but so long as you have a pair of shoes with good grips and an awareness of the potential dangers, this should not cause any falls. In icy conditions the poles can be used well for another purpose, namely to work as an extra pair of limbs to aid balance and improve gravity.

Although it seems counterintuitive to leave the warmth of your home and exercise in the elements when the temperature is colder than that at the Arctic, being sedentary inside is the worse of the two evils. Exercise increases the heart rate, which in turn improves circulation and helps prevent the periphery limbs from becoming too cold. The energy released in exercise will warm up the body and the act of going outside and meeting others for a class combats isolation, which can be a major problem during cold spells. 

The key to enjoying being outside in the cold is being suitably kitted out. Wearing layers and lots of them provides plenty of protection; ideally invest in some skiing thermals to wear as a base layer. Gloves should be thin enough to fit inside the pole strap and hats are a definite must. This morning, both walking groups walked in temperatures of minus 2 degrees and yet were warm within a few minutes and thus able to enjoy the stunning winter light that hit the snow on the frozen lake and made it sparkle as much as their smiles.

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