Transform your aversion to cold weather with a new perspective on the rewards that await outdoors during this time of year.

Winter is a season associated with the flu but is the change in weather what leaves us susceptible or could our indoor lifestyle also be hampering our natural defences?

Australians were recently advised to bone up on vitamin D (a hormone made by the body) with a healthy dose of winter rays— a prescription endorsed by SunSmart as a result of studies showing a greater number of people presenting low levels of the immune-boosting and bone-building vitamin. Exposure to the sun offers a natural source of vitamin D something those with an indoor lifestyle simply aren’t getting enough of.

As part of the public health campaign, SunSmart released a smartphone app with a vitamin D tracker allowing you to check if you are getting enough UV exposure to maintain sufficient levels of this essential nutrient. Even an outing under overcast sky can reap rewards, and the app will remind you of daily sun protection times and precautions.

Additional Advise: Consider covering your nose when braving the winds of winter, as studies suggest cold air rushing into the nasal passage makes infections more probable by diminishing the local immune response there. This is especially important for adventurous athletes who endure lengthy and intense cardio sessions outdoors.

Research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported on the long-term effects of cold air exposure of which inflammation and remodelling of the upper airways was indicated, along with higher incidences of exercise-induced asthma and other harmful respiratory effects.

Layer Up & Venture Out

If soaking-up vitamin D is not enough to draw you from under warm covers, perhaps the magic of nature could entice you to venture outside during winter. A striking shift in nature occurs during winter months and curious outings offer a multitude of magical discoveries.

Exploring What’s in Season

Depending on where you live a drop in temperature transforms the landscape in different ways—the arrival of snow is but one.

* Deciduous and coniferous trees offer fascinating branch patterns to photograph.
* Winter constellations are great for star gazers.
* Dine amongst the pine for a truly refreshing alfresco experience.
* Wake early to witness the shimmering light of melting due drops on frozen petals.
* You could easily while away an hour or two observing winter wildlife behaviour.
* And, studying life in frozen ponds is another insightful way to spend your time.
* Windswept coasts are a paradise for atmospheric panoramas.

Recommended Reading

‘Discover Nature in Winter’ by Elizabeth Lawlor is part of a series from Scientific America filled with many more splendid suggestions for this glorious season.