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Winter began, yesterday, December 21st.  This seasonal benchmark means less time during the day light hours to accomplish our tasks.  The day may seem to fly by when we focus on work, holiday preparations and our everyday activities.  However, we may pass up our interaction with nature.

The shorter days translate into less daylight and earlier sunsets.  This can cause us to be more interiorly focused.  (A good book, a hot cup of tea and an easy chair can be very tempting.)  However, we need to continue to get outside to help balance our circadian rhythms and produce melatonin.  This will help offset feelings of tiredness, inactivity and malaise.

A recent study validates our need to walk for health and well-being.  Jody Rosenblatt Naderi and Barani Raman have measured perceptions of people who walk for health purposes and determined the variables of the environment (weather, sound, water, light and other factors) that affect the decisions where to walk.  The study “Capturing impressions of pedestrian landscapes used for healing purposes with decision tree learning” begins to look at how walking conditions and health are directly related.

So, be sure to take walks, even if they are shorter than normal during the winter season.  Find a friend to walk with you to keep you company and help encourage you on.  And, know that the research is helping to validate what we know to be true.  Our mother was right.  Playing (and walking) outside is good for us.

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