By Susan Davidson, Associate Executive Director at Warlick Family YMCA
Photography by Butch Delatina of Butchworx Photography
These colder temperatures and surprise snowy North Carolina days sure have stopped us all in our tracks. The winter weather is in full swing all around us and has halted many of our regular activities. But a little cold shouldn’t stop us from staying active! Truth be told, there are actually many benefits to getting outside to move during the cold months! Here are just 5 reasons you should be walking the Sytz Family Trail at the Warlick Family YMCA on Lake Robinwood.
1. Boost your mood and your vitamin D naturally
The power of fresh air and sunshine is unmatched. A brisk walk in the cool temps will help you clear your mind and lower stress levels too. That warm sunshine beaming on your face will give you a burst of serotonin and help to ward off seasonal winter blues. Plus, vitamin D is crucial for your health, and since it’s not an easy vitamin to get through your diet, safe sun exposure is key. Research has proven just 5-30 minutes of sunlight each week can help you get the Vitamin D you need.
2. Freeze burn those calories
Whether you’re walking for weight loss or not, a winter walk can actually help you lose more weight! The body uses more energy to stay warm when the temperature is low on a cold winter day. So bundle up and get moving if you’re looking to shed a few more pounds.
3. Wake up your immune system to ward off illness
Winter cold season is a real thing but did you know that just 30-45 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can boost your immune system? Exposure to cold also causes your blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to injured areas, which helps reduce inflammation in the body. Shivering in the cold temperatures has even been shown to rev up your metabolism!
4. Better with friends
You don’t have to go it alone. Walking with a friend, or in a group, is a great chance to catch up with old friends or even make new ones! Because the Sytz Trail is for YMCA members and the community, you’ll meet other like-minded and health-conscious people who share the same goals.
5. The photo ops
Aside from all the awesome health benefits, the trail is just simply beautiful in the wintertime. The trees are bare of their leaves but not of their beauty. You’ll be inspired by the golden rays of sunshine beaming through the branches, the sound of your footsteps crunching beneath you, the stunning crystalized pathways and crystal clear, sparkling water, and the cold weather creatures visiting around you. You’re sure to find jaw-dropping imagery at every twist and turn. Soak in nature’s natural beauty!
More about the Sytz Trail System location and routes
The trailhead for the system is located just off the northeast corner of the Y parking lot. You’ll spot a large kiosk there that will show you a map of the three connecting trail loops. The trails are well-signed along the way, well worn and traveled, and it would be just about impossible to get lost. The trail system is open from dawn to dusk each day and is for walkers and joggers only. No bikes. Furry friends are welcome!
The three loops include:
River Loop is roughly a one-mile loop, marked in blue signage, and is considered the flattest, shortest, and easiest of the three loops. Highlights include Catawba Creek views and forest views.
This 1.66-mile circuit is the longest and steepest loop. Marked with green signs you’ll follow along the Catawba Creek which passes by a rock quarry and certainly some wildlife along the way.
This 1.39-mile circuit is marked with yellow signs. The power loop both begins and ends with the Power Line marker.