Spending time outside this winter could help your mental and physical health

Being outside has major health benefits.
Snow in the U.P.
Snow in the U.P.(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 10:52 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - For the next few months in the U.P. it may be hard for some people to find the motivation to do things outdoors.

It’s very understandable as it’s very cold and icy, and because we live so far north, we don’t have an opportunity to produce Vitamin D from the sun until March. However, Great Lakes Recovery Centers Nurse Practitioner Natalie Walker said getting outside still has multiple health benefits.

“It’s been proven that cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, are reduced just from even sitting outside,” said Walker. “Spending outside sitting, walking, or any kind of outdoor activity reduces the stress hormone.”

Walker said 15 minutes a day outside, three times a week is just about all you need. She also said spending time outside is good for your mental health as it can decrease anxiety.

“There is also evidence that it can improve immunity and decrease your chance of getting sick as well,” said Walker.

Walker said something as simple as opening the front door can benefit you.

“Sitting out on the porch, even just opening up all the blinds,” said Walker. “Sometimes we forget that something as simple as that and sitting in front of a window. Also, getting some natural light can really give us some of the benefits of having that outdoor time.”

She said even people with physical disabilities should try to get outside safely.

“It might be appropriate to have a wheelchair or even a safe stable chair outside,” said Walker.

The Great Lakes Recovery Centers staff is encouraging the community to get out and take part in as many winter activities as possible.