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The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway...3 Health Benefits of Getting Outside This Winter

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway...3 Health Benefits of Getting Outside This Winter

Many people resign themselves to the idea that winter means staying inside, winterizing the camper, and settling down for some kind of hibernation. But, even if you live in one of the colder areas of the U.S., you can still take advantage of outdoor weather.

In fact, in doing so, you’ll actually be benefiting your health.

Colder temperatures might make it tempting to stay inside. And, in all fairness, you do need to dress the part for cold temperatures and make sure you’re covering your skin to protect it from frostbite. But, with the right preparations, you can enjoy plenty of winter activities (including camping) and enjoy the health benefits that go with them.

Let’s look at some of those health benefits. Maybe they’ll motivate you to hit the road for a camping trip this season!

1.You’ll Sleep Better

Sleep tends to cure a lot of ailments, but most people don’t get enough of it. By partaking in some winter activities like snowshoeing, hiking, or cross-country skiing, combined with the shorter days and colder temperatures, you can get more sleep than you usually do in the summer.

So, no, there’s nothing wrong with a “long winter’s nap.” Just make sure it doesn’t keep you from getting back out there tomorrow!

2. It’s Good for Your Heart

Your body has to maintain a certain temperature. In cold weather, it has to work harder in order to maintain that temperature. That comes with a few benefits. First, it can help you to burn more calories - that can be a big plus for those of us who may have eaten a few too many Christmas cookies over the holiday season.

More importantly, though, it means your heart has to work harder, especially when you’re doing something physical outside. If you’re an avid runner or fitness buff, you might find that you have more stamina in the winter, or that you can run faster/farther.

3. You Can Give Your Brain a Boost

Studies have shown that cold weather can actually help with cognitive processing and decision-making. You’re less likely to make impulsive decisions in the winter because your body is using less glucose - something your brain needs to function.

In the summer when the weather is hot, your body takes up more glucose to keep your internal temperature down. In the winter, your brain can use that glucose, and you can have more focus.

There are other health benefits to being outdoors in winter, including a reduced risk of developing infections, and relief for allergy sufferers. So, before you pack up your camping gear for a long, snowy season, think about hitting up your favorite campsite in January or February. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to get outside around your own house or neighborhood. There are plenty of fun activities to do all season long, and you’ll be benefiting your mind and body when you do.

Dec 30th 2019 Stacey Koziel

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