Winter blues got you down? Take a nordic hike before the snow is gone.
Last week, my walking buddy invited me to join her for a brisk morning hike in the woods along a section of the Oak Ridges Trail.
Brisk was the word for it: we trekked 9 km in 2 hours through the Happy Valley Forest. The snow wasn’t deep enough to require snowshoes, but I was glad I brought my ski poles to turn it into a nordic walking workout. Nordic walking is good for cardiovascular stamina as well as balance and stability. Adding poles while hiking adds 15-20% to the calorie burn, increases oxygen uptake and engages more muscles.
The hikes are free, run by volunteers and take place several times a week at various trails along the Oak Ridges Moraine, a ridge that extends over 160 km to the north of the most populated region of Ontario. Left over from the last ice age, the Oak Ridges Moraine acts as nature’s filter to provide clean drinking water to over a million people. The trails are beautiful and I hope to do more of these hikes in various seasons. Since it has mostly deciduous trees, the Happy Valley Forest would be particularly gorgeous in fall.
It was great to exercise in nature’s gym for a change – lots of fresh air, sunshine and only the sound of a solitary woodpecker pounding on a tree in the distance.
This was a good kickstart to get ready for the spring running season before the snow is gone.