Denise Sanger

Denise Sanger

This past Saturday, some friends and I loaded up and headed to Kings Landing in Apopka, Florida. I had never been so was truly looking forward to this kayaking trip. Only problem? It was a wee bit chilly.  

The weather didn't stop us though as this was a trip we rescheduled due to rain a few weeks earlier. It did take a little more planning as far as what to wear and bring. But I got it all figured out and went with a nice sexy bulky layered look. I don't care who you are, when you put on layers of clothes, even the thinnest people look fluffier than normal.

We headed south at sunrise and three hours later pulled into Kings Landing. Checked in and on the Wekiva River we went. The first portion of the trip, we paddled upstream for a look at pristine crystal clear waters before heading downstream for the rest of the 8.5-mile trip. 

There was a moment where I thought to myself maybe it is going be too cold to enjoy kayaking but I am truly glad that didn't stop me from going. From the moment my butt hit the kayak seat, I was comfortable — even with only flip flops on my feet. Well except for the gators we saw on the river banks. Quick way to warm up? Paddle fast!

People always say to me "how can you be cold? You're from Cleveland." Well I've been in Florida more than 30 years so I'm more Floridian than Ohioan these days and trust me I definitely feel the cold. Especially that bone chilling, damp cold.

It's easy to let our thoughts get in the way and we can talk ourselves out of doing something we want to do. Especially in the winter when the temps can get pretty nippy and it's easy to want to stay indoors. It's natural to want to hibernate when it's cold outside but it's better for you mentally and physically if you put on what MIGHT feel like all your clothes and head outside.

Research has shown that hunkering down to ride out the winter months is not normal for humans. Too little sunlight and outdoor time can affect us mentally as well as physically causing us to feel tired and possibly depressed. Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons to help you head outdoors even when it's cold:

1. Spending time outside and in nature helps lift your mood. Natural sunlight raises your serotonin levels — the feel good hormone.  

2. You'll boost your Vitamin D in as little as 10 minutes. Bundle up and take a brisk walk.

3. Spending time outdoors whether it's warm OR cold can boost your memory.  

4. And most important? Heading outdoors can boost your immune system. How? When you exercise outside on a chilly day, it actually helps flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways (according to Medline Plus).

Embrace those chilly days when they arrive and head outdoors. You'll feel better. Promise. Enjoy your week!

To your health,


Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at, 386-292-6105 or

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