Make that blizzard work for you.

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It turns out that snow days can be good for more than snowmen and hot cocoa. Mother Nature may be doing your mind and body a favor with all those extra feet of fresh powder. Here are six ways a good old-fashioned snow day might be benefiting your health and wellbeing.

Science-Backed Ways Snow Days Are Good for Your Health: woman on sled
Credit: Getty Images

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1 Snow days let you sleep in.

The power of sleep is well documented. Getting the right amount of shuteye (seven to nine hours for most people) can, among its plethora of benefits, make us less stressed, help maintain a healthy metabolism, ward off Alzheimer's disease, make us happier, and boost immunity. Sleep has also been linked to forming new memories, and may lead to improved brain function and memory later in life. What's more, not getting enough sleep not only deprives you of these benefits, but leads to its own set of health issues, ranging from inconvenient (losing focus at work the next day) to dangerous (falling asleep at the wheel). So sleeping in an extra hour or so on a snow day may mean a better functioning, healthier you.

2 Playing outside counts as major exercise.

Trekking through the snow can be a serious workout. An hour of snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dodging snowballs in a snowball fight, building a snowman, hiking up snowy hills to sled down—these are all amazing ways to get the heart pumping and count as serious exercise. Plus, you'll be doing them outside, which only makes them healthier for you, mind and body.

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3 Spending the day curled up with a good book may also improve your health and happiness.

Don't feel like battling the cold temperatures? Diving into a good book comes with its own proven health benefits. Research has linked the habit to warding off Alzheimer's disease and reducing stress. Plus, reading can improve brain function. So stock up on cozy blankets and enjoy the health perks of a snowy day in, bookworms.

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4 Snow days force us to take a break.

Many of us work a lot without taking much-needed physical and mental breaks from the daily grind. A report last year found that 53 percent of Americans who receive paid vacation don't actually use all of their days off. Not taking time off can actually hurt our productivity at work. But snow days push us to take some welcome and unexpected time to ourselves.

5 It's an opportunity to eat a home-cooked family meal.

Too much snow makes it basically impossible to order delivery or takeout, and offers you enough free time to actually cook dinner. Research suggests that home cooking leads to better food choices and a healthier overall diet. Family mealtime has been suggested to help children build communication, decision-making skills, self-esteem, healthy habits, and strong values.

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6 Having fun is good for you.

Whether you'd prefer to spend the day outside or curled up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, actually enjoying yourself for a day is in fact a boon to your health. Stress can cause headaches, fatigue, anxiety, sleep problems, and even depression. Taking a day to relieve all that can improve your mood and your health. Getting silly in the snow is also a good idea. Laughing may lower inflammation, soothe tension, boost your immune system, and more.