Fun ways to spend time in the backyard this winter

19 January, 2015

Cold and snowy winter weather is as good excuse as any to huddle up indoors this season. However, it can actually be beneficial for your health to spend some time outdoors each day, no matter the weather. Take a look at why getting outside is good for you, and at some fun ideas for outdoor winter activities:

Why go outside?
Spending time outside has many health benefits, not the least of which is that sunlight can promote the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an amazing health-booster, affecting everything from your emotional well-being to your bone and joint health, according to Harvard Health. In fact, studies have shown vitamin D can even decrease a person's risk for developing some cancers and other serious health conditions. Simply being in nature has its own advantages. Research has found that spending time outside can increase concentration and other cognitive functions, decrease stress and lead to an overall better sense of well-being.

Fun outdoor activities to get you outside this winter
Make a snowman 
Grab the kids (or even some friends of your own) and head outside to get your creative juices flowing. Build a classic snowman, a fort or some snowballs you can discreetly toss at someone when they least expect it.

Play catch with Fido
You probably aren't the only one feeling cooped up this winter. Take your dog out for a walk or a friendly game of catch in the backyard. The excitement on little Fido's face alone will make the activity worth it.

Relax on an outdoor rocker
If you have outdoor seating in your backyard, take advantage of it no matter the season! Even if you're always on-the-go, just taking some time to sit and relax in nature can be very calming and cathartic. Bundle up, grab a steaming cup of coffee or a warm cider and whatever book you've been meaning to read, and curl up outside. The fresh crisp air will feel great, and you'll be able to take a much-needed break for a few minutes.

Gather around the firepit
Firepits make spending time in the great outdoors a lot of fun, but they feel especially decadent when it's cold out. Gather friends or family members around yours and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for lunch. Enjoy spending time in each others' company, and stick close to the heat so you don't get too cold.

Feed the birds
Bird-watching isn't just a summer sport! Keep the birds happy during the winter by building a feeder for them. Build and paint it outside, fill it with seed, hang it up, and you'll be able to watch the birds come and go every time you're outside.

Remember that it's important to know your limits. Spending time outdoors is great for your health, but if the temperature falls far enough, it can be dangerous to be outside. Take advantage of the less extreme winter weather days, and always remember to bundle up in the proper cold-weather outerwear. Don't forget to wear sunscreen whenever you're spending a lot of time outside, even when it's cold!