two people walking on snow

Mental health benefits of getting outside this winter

Getting outdoors in Ontario this winter may be brisk, but it comes with a whole host of benefits for your mood and health.

The winter season notoriously brings cold weather, shorter days, and too much time cooped up indoors. It can even trigger a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

All the more reason not to hibernate!

Let’s look at some of the very real mental health benefits of the outdoors during the winter season:

Vitamin D boost

Because of the cold, short days and low sunlight, we tend to get much less Vitamin D in the winter.

A group of three seniors with cross country skiing gear in a snowy park

Research has shown that Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating your mood, warding off depression, and improving energy levels.

Try to get outside for at least 15 minutes and soak up the sun!

Stimulate your senses

When going outside, all your senses are stimulated.

Listen to your senses observing the shapes in nature, smelling the scent of pine trees and feeling of the brisk winter air on your cheeks.

Two children in snowsuits facing away from the camera, walking through a snowy forest

Using these senses outdoors helps calm our minds, boost our self-esteem, and improve concentration.

Keep your body moving!

The winter months offer many great ways to stay active outside.

Whether you’re walking, skating, skiing, or shoveling snow, staying active will help you release stress, both physically and emotionally.

person snowshoeing in a park

Interacting with natural spaces for just 20-30 minutes per day, three days a week, can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels.

Try to find time in your day to get outdoors for your mental health.

Stay close to home and walk through a park during your lunch hour or try a new trail on the weekend. No matter where you are, getting your exercise with a side of Mother Nature can help relax your mind.

Let’s get outdoors!