As a kid you were probably told that spending time outside was good for you. You probably also thought that your parents were making excuses to get you to go outside and play instead of making a mess in the house…this could be true, however, being outside IS good for you. It has a number of benefits to your health.
A clear mind.
The stress of everyday life – to-do lists, work, school- is enough to render even the sharpest of brains in a state of perpetual fog. According to research, however, interacting with nature for as little as one hour a day can improve our focus and short-term memory. This even includes looking at photos of nature scenes online!
Scientific studies have shown that walking barefoot on the grass can reduce inflammation throughout the body. This is known as “earthing” and can be done on grass, sand, or soil as well. People across the world participate in earthing during the early morning or late afternoon hours.
Spending time outside has been known to improve the quality and duration of ones sleep. This is what makes camping great for sleep- sleeping outside in a tent puts you close to nature and helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm, which, in turn, promotes a healthy sleep schedule.
Instead of hopping on the treadmill, take a trip outside and go for a run in the park or around the block. A study was conducted on a group of runners who went on a 45 minute run outside. Their results were compared to those who ran 45 minutes on a treadmill, and it was found that the runners who went outside felt less fatigued, more awake, and attentive. They also achieved personal bests.
Vitamin D absorption.
Vitamin D deficiencies are particularly common among city-dwellers, as those we live in the city are generally less exposed to the sun, which provides our bodies with the motivation to synthesize this essential vitamin. A lack of vitamin D can contribute to seasonal affective disorder, fatigue, and brain fog. To remedy these unpleasant symptoms, you can spend as few as 10 minutes outside- even in the cold, dark, winter months.
In an interesting study, it was discovered that time spent outdoors may have a correlation to the prevention of certain types of cancers. Spending time outside- in large forests especially- seems to have a link to an increase in the body’s ability to produce cancer fighting proteins. The increased levels are thought to last up to 7 days after the exposure to nature.
Spending time with nature has been known to lower stress within the body. How? Spending time outside lowers blood pressure, brings your heart rate to a calming level, and reduces the amount of the stress causing hormone- cortisol- that is released into your bloodstream. Stress prevention and reduction is important for everyone, but is particularly important for seniors and people with heart problems.