Physical and Mental Benefits of Winter Wellness Walks 

Posted by Alyssa Kotzmann
On February 27, 2024
In Blog

By Alyssa Kotzmann, Marketing and Communications Officer 

In midwinter, approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. population experiences the Winter Blues, a condition triggered by the cold weather and reduced daylight that confines individuals indoors, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability. If you find yourself affected by these midwinter symptoms, The Alliance for Health Equity shares a holistic solution through engaging in active wellness walks.  

Winter Walks offer a blend of invigorating fresh air, physical activity, and sunlight. The crisp air revitalizes one’s senses and primes them for the day ahead. Exposure to cold air has been shown to enhance mood by stimulating the body to produce dopamine and serotonin. This approach not only promotes overall wellness but also serves as a preventive health measure. According to Mayo Clinic, walking offers various benefits, such as  

  • reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes 
  • strengthening bones and muscles 
  • boosting energy levels 
  • alleviating stress 
  • fortifying the immune system 

It is especially important for women to get regular exercise in. A national study found that women who exercised for at least 2½ hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week — had a 24% lower risk of dying compared with women who didn’t exercise. 

Personally, walking offers a serene environment that fosters creativity and reflection, complemented by the tranquil sounds of nature. My most innovative ideas come to fruition during these walks. Walking has turned into therapeutic moments of self-reflection, allowing me to disconnect from the external world and concentrate on personal needs.  

To stay warm, The Alliance for Health Equity recommends wearing the following items:  

  • Dress in Layers: multiple light layers are better than one thick layer. Consider starting off with a tight, long sleeve shirt, following with a short sleeve, sweatshirt, and then outer coat or flannel.  
  • Extremities: be sure to cover your hands, feet, and ears. A pair of gloves, warm socks, and a beanie will do wonders.  

If you do not have multiple warm layers of clothing for extremities, the Community Youth and Women’s Alliance (CYWA) distributes free women’s, children, and men’s clothing every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday between the hours of 9AM-1PM.  Their location is 423 Lincoln Hwy E, Coatesville, PA 19320. If you can donate clothing, the CYWA hosts donation drop-offs between 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM on Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Friday’s.  

If you have time during the daylight, there are so many beautiful places in Coatesville to walk.  

  • Hibernia Park: located at 1 Park Rd, Coatesville, PA 19320. This park has over five different walking trails for all ages. The trails range from one mile to four miles. This park is unique because it is considered a fabulous place for birdwatching and lake views. Check out the video below of me touring Hibernia Park!  
  • East Fallowfield Township Park: located at 2264 Strasburg Road East Fallowfield, PA  19320. This park has over five miles of paved, gravel, and dirt trails and is ADA accessible. This park is unique because it provides an online “Field Guide to Wildlife” information guide as you travel through the many different trees, flowers, and animals.  
  • Sadsbury Woods Preserve: located at 443 Old Wilmington Road, Coatesville, PA. This preservation has over six miles of beginner and intermediate trails overlooking 511 miles of nature and the Brandywine Creek. This park is unique because of its “several species of birds—such as Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Ovenbird—that are dependent on its deep, sheltering forest for their survival”.  
  • ChesLen Preserve: located at 1199 Cannery Road, Coatesville, PA. This preservation has over nine miles of hiking trails through “shady woodlands, flower-filled meadows, farm fields, and stream valleys”. This park is unique because it has Ollie Owl’s NaturePlayGround, which is a nature focused playground created out of trees, sticks, and other environmental pieces perfect for young ones to enjoy outdoor nature.  

In 2024, I set a goal to achieve 10,000 steps daily to enhance my physical, mental, and behavioral well-being. I incorporate walks into my daily routine before work, during lunch, and in the evening. To ensure safety, especially with early darkness and being alone, I opted to join Planet Fitness at a fee of $10 per month. For residents in West Side Coatesville, there’s a Planet Fitness facility in Parkesburg, while those on the East Side can access the one in Downingtown. Planet Fitness caters to individuals of all fitness levels and operates 24/7 from Sunday to Friday, fostering inclusivity and accessibility. 

I hope this blog assists you in beginning or maintaining a healthy exercise routine throughout the midwinter months. As we anticipate the arrival of spring, it’s essential to embrace the present moment and relish outdoor activities irrespective of the weather conditions. In the words of Jim Ryan, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Let us embark together on cultivating healthy habits in 2024!

Watch the video below to learn more about Hibernia Park! The park is located only 5 miles from the city proper and is an inclusive area for youth, adults, and families to explore nature.

Hibernia Park Main Office Building located right next to the main parking lot. The main office building is where you rent pavilions, learn more about upcoming events, and ask questions!