The Outdoors are Calling—and Getting Out is Good for You!

The Outdoors are Calling—and Getting Out is Good for You!
JAN 20 2023

The Outdoors are Calling – and Getting Out is Good for You!


If you’ve resolved to spend more time outdoors in the New Year, you’ve made a wise choice.  It’s proven that being outdoors can make a real difference in your health and your mood, even in the winter.

Studies show that a minimum of two hours a week spent in nature, either at one time or over several visits, can significantly increase your health and wellbeing. Two hours may sound like a lot when you’re balancing school, work, and personal time, but your health is worth the investment!


Here are some of the health benefits:

- A heightened sense of calmness
- Additional production—and higher levels—of hormones that promote happiness, such as endorphins and dopamine
- A renewed ability to concentrate and pay attention
- Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Less irritability
- Reduced levels of stress hormones, like cortisol
- Lower blood pressure
- Additional production of Vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system


Being outdoors can also boost your creativity. If you’re stuck on a problem or have writer’s block for a work assignment, get outside! Spend some time in nature thinking about your challenge; new ideas will probably come to you with the cool, fresh air.



Combat SAD

It’s no secret that the winter blues are a thing. Some people even exhibit what is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is associated with shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight. It’s been shown, though, that being outside, even when it’s cold, can help with SAD. Taking a walk outside, even for as little as a half hour after waking up, is a wonderful way to absorb fresh air and light. In fact, even if it’s cloudy, natural light has a much greater positive effect than artificial light.


Children Love the Outdoors

For children, the benefits of being outdoors may even be greater than for adults—and sometimes it seems as if children have a greater tolerance for the cold when they are having fun, such as when they’re playing in the snow.


Here are just a few of the potential benefits of outdoor activities for children:

- Being outdoors usually happens in larger spaces, which encourage movement/exercise
- Stress relief- Increased ability to build resilience
- Increased cognitive ability and ability to pay attention
- Encourages creativity by playing with whatever is at hand, such as plant material, sticks, and stones
- Stronger verbal and social skills when playing with other kids
- Sensory stimulation provided by different sounds and colors
- Increased impulse control and reduced aggression  


Be Sure to Stay Present

To maximize the health benefits of being in nature, try your best to be present. Take deep breaths as you walk and pause to listen to the sounds around you. This works best if you have a wooded trail nearby, where you can immerse yourself in the sounds of the birds and animals that stay active in the cold months. It can also work on a city sidewalk, though. Let the sounds you’ve relegated to background noise—traffic, honking, screeching, nearby conversations—into your consciousness one by one and hold them in your mind.


Take Your Workout Outdoors

While a walk in the woods will help combat stress, try moving your workout outdoors. When performed regularly, exercising in nature can reduce the risk of mental health problems by up to 50%. Perhaps you have a nearby park. Using it when the weather is cold just means adding a few extra layers of clothes.



We (Literally) Have Your Back

highwood® outdoor furniture is impervious to the weather, so you don’t have to put it away every season. That means we quite literally have your back with our extensive lineup of chairs, tables, and fireside arrangements that provide a place to relax after a snowball fight.



Bundle up and snuggle into your favorite afghan as you light the fire, tell ghost stories, and make s’mores. Best of all, highwood products can also help promote family conversations and bonding. For example, the Classic Westport Adirondack Fireside Set includes chairs, ottomans, and tables so everyone can be included. Or choose one of our conversation sets—which include chairs, benches and side tables—or our many chairs to enjoy a balmy, wintry evening.



It's all about being outside!


What outdoor activity are you planning to do more of this year? We want to hear about it in the comments below!

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