Nature’s medicine: 5 health benefits of getting outside with your new baby

Winter’s gone. The days are getting longer. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. After months cooped up inside, especially with a new baby, a little time outside can be the mood booster we all need. Even a few minutes out in our own neighborhood can feel really good. And it turns out, there are reasons for that.

1. Sunlight makes us happy. The sun signals the body to release serotonin, a chemical in our brains. It boosts mood and makes us feel calm and focused. Dips in serotonin levels, which can happen in the dark of winter, can be a factor in depression. Plus, sunlight helps produce vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and hearts.

2. Walking feels good. Even a simple, brisk walk outside boosts your body’s endorphins. Those are your “feel good” chemicals. With a jogging stroller, baby can come along. Or they can hang with someone at home while you get some head-clearing solo time.

3. Seeing people is nice. Social isolation can be a real bummer. In the winter, freezing temperatures keep people indoors for longer periods of time. This is especially true for new moms, who would usually rather not bundle up a newborn or risk slipping on ice. Once the weather warms, a quick chat or a wave from neighbors feels really good.

4. Nature is refreshing. People have always associated the signs of spring with renewal and rebirth. Trees starting to bud. Birds building nests. Lush green shoots popping up from the soil. It’s easy to get a little giddy noticing all those signs of new life.

5. The outdoors boosts our brain. Stepping outside can stimulate imagination and creativity. It gives us new input — sounds, smells, sights — that we can’t get when we’re in the house. Let the mind wander, find inspiration, and notice little details. Taking in your surroundings can be an invigorating jump start for great new ideas.

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