Winter weather has rolled into town in many areas, and now it’s colder outside and it gets dark early. It’s easier than ever to curl up on the couch and watch your favorite movie. While it’s good to relax and unwind, sometimes it’s also a good idea to pull on your winter jacket and head outside.
Read on to learn six reasons to get outside, even in the winter. It may surprise you, but the cold can help you out this year. Make a few changes to your winter lifestyle to enjoy these benefits in your own life.
1. Sunlight Contains Vitamin D
Many kids have heard adults tell them to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. It’s a comment that’s easy to toss aside as you head outdoors, but there’s science behind it.
Sunlight contains vitamin D, which helps maintain healthy skin and strong bones. It’s sold in supplement form and drinks like orange juice, but it’s free if you get it from the sun. Since sunlight is the same in both winter and summer, you can still enjoy an extra dose of vitamin D if you get outside this winter. Bundle up and bask in the sun for a few minutes to help yourself on a cellular level.
2. Natural Light Improves Your Mood
Once you get used to the chill, you might find that you’re happier while you explore the world. Even if you’re not doing anything particularly “fun,” hanging out in natural light helps your overall mood by boosting your serotonin. A recent study at the University of Pittsburgh found that light therapy improves seasonal mood disorders, like seasonal depression.
Forget about tossing the blinds aside in the morning. Strap on your favorite winter boots and bask in the natural light outdoors to improve your mood or help with seasonal mood disorder symptoms.
3. Nature Walks Improve Memory
Taking a quick stroll in nature could do wonders for your memory. A University of Michigan study found that when people walked around different types of scenery, nature helped people recall 20 percent better than those who walked around a city.
4. Nature Reduces Stress
When you take your first step outside, you might enjoy a deep breath of fresh air. That’s because science has proven that nature reduces symptoms of stress, no matter how you spend your time outdoors. People living with stress often experience symptoms like headaches, along with other debilitating issues. Call a friend and find an outdoor activity to reduce your stress and make life easier.
5. Energy Levels Increase Outside
Once you’re outside, it’s hard to sit as long as you might normally sit on your couch. There’s so much to do and it’s good to warm up while you move during the winter. Because people move more consistently while they’re outside, outdoor activities increase your energy levels, whether you enjoy horseback riding or going to the zoo.
6. Community Interactions Inspire Purpose
People like to say that social media connects people and makes the world a bigger place, but nothing compares to the joy of bonding with your local community. When you get to know your neighbors and make memories with them, it creates unity and inspires purpose, which is often lacking in those that remain isolated in their homes.
Get involved with winter events in your town and get together with your neighbors and do outdoor activities. The sense of community you’ll feel is more encouraging than any movie or social media post.
Figure Out What You Need
During the winter, what do you find you most commonly need? Some people get lonelier or more stressed. Spend some time in self-reflection to figure out what you need the most during the winter and then find out how going outside can help.
Take a walk to reduce your stress or try an outdoor activity to increase your energy. As long as you bundle up, you’ll be able to experience all the benefits of going outside in the winter!