We know. This year, it’s all about the hygge. That cozy-blanket-candle-friends-book-tea import from Denmark we’ve all gone mad for. It’s the thing, this winter. But we can still enjoy all winter has to offer outdoors too.

From the quiet of freshly fallen snow and the joys of making a snowman to snowball fights with your frenemies and sleigh rides with family, the sheer fun of winter’s snowy cold goodness is not to be missed. Aside from the frivolities, there are real benefits to spending time outdoors too, even when it’s cold.

Exercising outdoors has been proven to be beneficial, but in winter when it’s harder to move due to snow and extra layers, you could burn even more calories just by trying to keep warm. That’s win-win for sure, especially after holiday cookies. Being outside isn’t just about that fresh, crisp air, although that helps too. Boosting creativity, focus and concentration, walking outdoors relieves sluggish afternoon brain like nothing else can. Even when it’s overcast and cold, the natural light outside is great for mood and mental health, absolutely key during these short, cold days and long, colder nights.

Playing outside in winter is important for kids too. 40 years ago, kids played outside 2 hours everyday, growing to 9 hours on weekends. By 2013, outside play fell by half. With obesity and mood disorders on the rise in kids under 10, bundle up and get the kids and dog outside.

Going outside in winter must give at least a little hygge anyway, since it makes the warming of fingers and toes by the fire and that first sip of hot cocoa that much sweeter.

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