If you’ve ever escaped the winter by vacationing somewhere tropical, you’re one of the lucky ones.
And if you’re planning a trip to a place much warmer than the snow-covered hellhole you call home, get ready: It’s going to be the experience of a lifetime.
When you get out of the cold and immerse yourself in the beautiful warmth and sunshine, you’re actually doing a lot more good for your body than you may think.
Studies show spending more time in warm weather boosts our mental health and creativity — and we feel generally healthier and happier than we would while trudging through the dirty gray snow that’s left all of us wishing winter wasn’t a thing.
And if that weren’t enough to convince you to book your next journey to paradise, here’s a little science to back it up.
Warm weather is actually really good for your health
The positive effects of warm weather are more than just a nice tan and lighter hair. In fact, when we are put in warmer climates, research shows we’re far more inclined to get off our butts and get outside.
By ending the Netflix binge and stepping out into the light, our bodies get up and get moving, and we’re more likely to exercise, even if it’s just walking through the park or going on a bike ride.
If you’ve forgotten about the gym (or have been avoiding it since the first snowfall), part of what’s holding you back may be the cold weather. And without daily exercise, we begin to experience things like fatigue, joint stiffness and muscle ache.
The University of Utah reports that a lack of movement can even cause high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and depression.
And it seems obvious that the warmth has something to do with people being in better shape. People who live in warmer climates are found to be more physically fit, and I imagine it’s because they don’t have these murky snow puddles to deal with on their daily jogs.
A report from the American Physiological Society says our mental performance and memory are at their peak when we have a high body temperature.
These findings would suggest that, by living in a warmer climate, we would be more likely not only to be more physically fit but more mentally fit as well.
The sun makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that spending a bit of time each day outside in the sun significantly improves our moods and makes us feel more positive on a daily basis.
By spending 30 minutes a day or more in the sun, research shows that people feel happier and more focused than they would if they had stayed indoors all day.
And that may be because of all the positive effects the sun has on our overall health. A study from Central Washington University found that 77 percent of people are vitamin D deficient.
A boost in vitamin D can help prevent cancer, strengthen bones and increase our energy.
Researchers noted that by avoiding the sunlight and staying couped up inside, people often felt less positive and had worse memory in test studies than participants who were lounging in the sun.
Matthew Keller, a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan who led the psychology study, says,
If 30 minutes is all it takes to get an extra pep in my step, that’s enough of an excuse to leave work or school right this minute and bask in the sunlight.
Your classmates or coworkers will understand. You’re just trying be a happy camper, and that’s your right.
We’re more creative when we’re warm
Apparently, Picasso must have preferred a nice 72-degree spring day with a slight, cool breeze.
Studies show that not only is the human brain more mentally fit, but humans are also their most creative selves when out in the warmth.
A round of studies with 600 participants showed that those assigned to be outdoors during warm, sunny days exhibited much more positive mindsets than their counterparts.
The researchers also found the ideal temperature for human creativity and a positively functioning brain is 72 degrees, which is just about room temperature.
If the temperature were to drop below the 72-degree sweet spot, people would be less open-minded and creative, and their moods and brain functioning would also decline.
It’s not exactly surprising that warm weather has positive effects on the mind, body and soul.
What’s more interesting is that we lose some of the potential to be physically and mentally fit and more creative when we are in colder environments.
So with all this science being presented, there’s no longer any excuse. Pack your bags; I’ll see you on the plane.