Nature escapes – including those in your own backyard – are just as important in the wintertime as they are when the weather is warmer.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. Here are seven reasons why the TurfMutt Foundation encourages you to bundle up in moisture-wicking layers and don your coat, hat, gloves and snow boots to get outside for your health and well-being.
Outdoor time elevates moods. Exposure to natural light – even in the shorter days of winter – raises levels of serotonin, the body’s “happy chemical.” Sunlight is also a good way to get a natural dose of vitamin D, which is good for your bones and immune system.
Memory improves. Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed walking in a natural setting versus an urban one improved recall ability by nearly 20 percent.
Reconnecting and recharging outdoor is safe. Unplugging from your computer, smartphone and television is important even when it’s cold out and can be accomplished by simply going outside. Add a patio heater or fire pit to your backyard to make it even cozier.
Activity boosts immunity. According to MedlinePlus, exercise helps decrease your risk for heart disease, maintains bone health and can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways.
More calories are burned in the cold. Being outside in the wintertime requires your body to work harder to keep you warm. Consequently, you burn a few more calories. Engage in a friendly snowball fight with your kids or take a walk with Fido to the park to rev up your metabolism and have a little fun along the way.
It doesn’t take long to reap nature’s benefits. Here’s a bit of good news for cold days. A study from the University of Michigan concluded that spending just 20 minutes in a natural setting reduces the level of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Taking care of your yard in the wintertime is a good way to log some time outside, and it helps prepare it for spring. Just remember if you’re using a snow thrower, chainsaw or other outdoor power equipment to do some of the heavy lifting this year, read the owner’s manual first and abide by all safety precautions.