While extreme temperatures can be reconciled with good gear and heavy layers, being sick may just be keeping us out of the fresh air our bodies actually need. We don't feel well, and the couch is a whole lot more enticing than any walk in a winter wonderland. But, here's the thing: getting outdoors in any capacity is better than none at all. Disclaimer: I'm not talking about extreme illness here - just the sniffles and aches of a cold or flu that take away all our motivation. Essentially the gunk that is circulating across the country.
While it's important to be realistic about your limitations and what your body can handle (you likely won't be bagging any serious peaks), a short hike or ski or snowshoe may just be what your body needs.
Seriously down and out? Throw a hammock between a couple trees, bundle up and take an outdoor nap. You'll reap the benefits of some fresh air AND some extra sleep to help yourself heal.
Why bother making the extra effort to get out while sick:
- Outdoor air is fresher compared to indoor air which is just recirculated, especially during the colder winter months
- Increased Vitamin D from sunlight helps boost mood AND health
- Light exercise while sick helps get the heart pumping and the body moving, which helps "clear the fog"
- When an illness has the whole family down - getting out gives everyone a chance to re-set and begin again. Having sick kids can be stressful on everyone — it's ok to do it for you too!
- You usually rest better after outside time
- Contrary to the popular wive's tale, outside time will not perpetuate illness (save for pollen-induced or respiratory illnesses effected by cold weather)
- It's a break from the couch/bed, even if it's short-lived
- In general, the outside time that is a part of our daily life keeps them from getting sick (usually) in the first place.
So, grab your kleenex and a water bottle and head out - even 15 minutes helps!