Below freezing temperatures are expected through the rest of the week. And if you're thinking that's a good reason to stay inside, think again.

It seems like common sense to spend your time indoors during winter, but scientists say going outside in the cold has many health benefits.

Many animals hibernate or go dormant during periods of sustained cold, but human beings aren't one of those. Clinical psychologist John Sharpe, M.D. told NBC News, "“Too little sunlight is stressful and effects our emotional and physical wellbeing, making us vulnerable to being pessimistic and fatigued."

Exposure to indoor light, as opposed to natural sunlight during the winter, can throw off circadian rhythms affecting your sleep and wake patterns.

NBC News reports that getting just 10 minutes of sunlight a day can head off a vitamin D deficiency, "Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption (and thus boost bone health), reduces inflammation and promotes immune function. It also helps lift serotonin levels."

A recent Japanese study touts the results of "forest bathing," which means just taking a short walk around a forest to improve immunity. "Researchers found that forest bathing decreased stress hormones and increased intracellular anti-cancer proteins," according to NBC News.

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