Why, you may ask, would you want to make a concerted effort to go outside in the winter months? It’s cold, dark, and miserable. Looking out your window at the weather while snuggled up on your couch with a cup of cocoa may be as close as you want to get, but consider these benefits:
- Exposure to fresh air and natural light. Many people suffer from mild to severe forms of seasonal depression. Getting outside is one way to help alleviate this.
- Keep seasonal weight gain at bay. The average weight gain is 3 – 5 pounds during the holiday season. Balance out the cookies, wine, and chocolate by getting some exercise.
- Winter activities such as snow shoeing and skiing are not only fun but can also help maintain cardiovascular fitness, balance, coordination, and strength.
The hardest part of getting outside in the winter is the actual physical act of getting out the door. Once you’re out in the elements and moving it doesn’t take your body long to adjust. Proper preparation, such as appropriate clothes and gear, are a must to keep you safe and comfortable. The darker days call for reflective clothing. Dress according to the elements. Wear layers when you can – while you’re moving, you may get quite warm, but when you stop, the wind chill will rob you of that warmth quite quickly.
Don’t be afraid to go for a walk or run. Take a ski day (or two). Braving the elements at this time of year makes sitting on your couch snuggled up with a cup of cocoa all that much better. Below are a few ideas of activities that you could do in the winter months.