It can be hard to muster the energy to leave your cozy home in the depths of winter, but is it actually unhealthy to stay indoors all day? According to Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, "nesting" can have adverse health effects, but only if it becomes a long-term habit.
"The biggest issue is that entering hibernation mode means you don’t get any exposure to natural light," she writes in an article for Health. "Sunlight tends to improve your mood, and it helps your body produce vitamin D, which has been shown to help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation in the body, and more."
She also points out that a lazy day indoors means you'll spend less time in nature. "Getting some green can help alleviate symptoms of depression, up your energy, and improve your overall well-being," she says. A study by the University of Glasgow also found that people who exercise outdoors rather than in a gym had a lower risk of poor mental health.
The take-home? "One day inside probably won't hugely affect your health—but it's not great to constantly stay cooped up from morning until dark," she says. "On certain days it can feel impossible to spend substantial time outdoors [but] keep in mind that carving out even 20 minutes per day of 'ecotherapy,' as some call it, can do your mind and body good."
Have you ditched the gym to exercise outdoors? Tell us if you've noticed a difference to your mental and physical well-being.