In areas where winter means colder weather, it’s easy to make excuses to stay indoors when the temperature drops. There are several motivating reasons to get outdoors, even when it’s cold, to promote wellness during the chilly winter months.
1. Fresh air
“A study of residents in both rural and industrial areas found high chemical levels in the subjects’ bodies indicating they had received doses of pollutants in their homes five to 70 times higher than the highest outdoor levels. People spend as much as 90 percent of the day indoors.” Going outside can help to reduce the harmful effects of indoor pollution.
2. Stress relief
Winter depression is a real problem affecting as much as 20 percent of the population. Symptoms may include appetite changes, weight gain, fatigue, oversleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating and social disorders. The primary cause, a lack of sunlight, can be treated with light therapy. Though there are artificial substitutes available, side effects from light boxes or visors may include eye strain, headaches and insomnia. Why not address the root cause by bundling up and going outside on a sunny day?
3. The view
Changing seasons create changing landscapes. While summer provides a vibrant diverse palette of bright colors, autumn and winter provide breathtaking contrasts and warm tones. Colors have an impact on our mood and behavior. Max Luscher, a former professor of psychology at Basle University in Europe, claimed that color preferences were associated with mental states that could be used for physical and psychological diagnosis. Based on this research, hospitals are using art to boost patient immune systems, alter pain perception and promote health and well-being.
If cold temperatures are the biggest inhibitor to spending more time outdoors, stay warm by choosing proper clothing, preferably with appropriate base, insulating and outwear layers. Choose an activity that maintains or increases body temperature such as brisk walking, hiking or jogging. Enjoy the view. Keep stress levels in check. Take a breath of fresh air. When temperatures warm up again in springtime, you’ll be glad you did!
©Room2GrowGarden.com, November 27, 2017
1. O’Neil, K. (2000). The Inside Scoop. E: The Environmental Magazine, 11(6), 44.
2. American Family Physician. March 1, 2006. Accessed November 27, 2017. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html>
3. Stein, S. (2006). COMMUNICATING with Color. Women In Business, 58(3), 14-15.
4. Tactics. Accessed November 27, 2017. <https://www.tactics.com/info/layering-for-the-weather>
5. Dr. Axe. 6 Health Benefits of Being Outdoors. Accessed November 27, 2017. <https://draxe.com/health-benefits-being-outdoors/>