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Winter no excuse not to care for your body

Still keeping that New Year’s resolution to get healthy? Take a hike.

Although Butler County awoke to a fresh coat of snow Monday, our winter for the most part has been unseasonably warm, and our hiking and walking trails have much to offer.

Moraine State Park’s Natalie Simon told the Eagle last week that the educational walks and hikes the park hosts during the winter are popular. She said many people also enjoy the chance to see the park and its trails in a different context.

“Hikes are kind of popular in the winter,” Simon said. “People like excuses to go outdoors; they like to be together more than other times.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says 33% of the state’s adults and 18% of its children are affected by obesity. Nationally, those rates are 42% and 19%, respectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the World Health Organization recommends people ages 18 to 64 should do at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 90 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.

The constantly overcast sky we see during winter months underscores the importance of fitness, mentally and physically, during the winter.

Winter can be a difficult time of the year for people who struggle with seasonal affective disorder, a condition affecting people's mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and energy level. It typically gets worse during colder, darker months and better during warmer, brighter months.

We know there are many reasons and excuses why it’s much easier to engage in outdoor physical activity during warm-weather months. But fitness should be maintained year-round.

So get out. Take a hike. Take a walk, even if it’s just around your block. Your body will thank you for it.

– JGG

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