Nature’s medicine: The benefits of nature in winter

Publish Date : 29 Jun 2017
Nature’s medicine: The benefits of nature in winter

Crisp winds, spontaneous downpours and frozen car windows – they're all signs that winter is here. But don’t let the colder months get you down. Venturing out into our green open spaces will help cure your winter blues.

Auckland Council's head of Parks Services, Mark Bowater, says Auckland’s parks and green spaces provide a wide range of benefits, come rain or shine.

“We have more than 4000 parks in Auckland," he says.

"They all offer different experiences for people to explore, and you'll come away feeling relaxed or invigorated. Our green spaces are essential to making Auckland one of the best cities in the world and are highly valued by the people of Auckland and visitors,” he says.

Here are some more reasons why you should get out and about in nature this winter: 

1. You’ll soak up some Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bones. We get vitamin D from sunlight (and certain foods) and it’s no surprise that we often lack the sunshine vitamin during winter. So heading outside on sunny or even cloudy winter days can help replenish your vitamin D.

2. Fight the seasonal slump

Hanging out at a park among trees, rolling green hills and birdsong is great for your mental wellbeing and makes you happy. Nature is positively correlated with happiness and helps to increase attention and reduce fatigue and stress. Even a 10-minute walk outside at your local park can make all the difference.

3. Nature nurtures us

Being outside is generally associated with physical activity, and being active has a number of benefits including burning calories, alleviating stress and boosting self-esteem. Exercising outdoors can also strengthen your immune system, which is important for fighting off those sicknesses that do the rounds during winter.

4. Friends with benefits

There are so many great walks to do in our parks, and they make perfect weekend social activities. Here are a few to get you started. So grab a mate or round up the kids, slip on a raincoat and get exploring all the great things our parks have to offer.

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