How Being Outdoors Can Improve Your Health
The great outdoors! Why does it feel so good to spend time in nature? If you spend most of your time in the coziness of your home, you sure are missing out on something exceptional. The outdoors offer an abundant supply of immune-boosting vitamin D from the sun, fresh soul-lifting air, and a symphony of natural sights and sounds that deliver unbelievable health benefits.
The great feeling you experience when you promenade around the neighborhood or take hikes is not a one-off experience. Science shows that being outdoors can have a powerful effect on our memory and general quality of life. If you need a reason or two to ditch your comfy sofa and hit the dirt, here is why you need to go out and enjoy nature.
Our ancestors spent most of their lives outdoors roaming in search of food or hunting. They only retire into a cave or natural shelter to protect themselves from the elements and wild animals. And they still survived the unforgiving environment and hazards of that time. How?
Research shows that spending time outdoors is a natural and effective stress relief strategy. According to one study, researchers found that the levels of daily stress hormone (cortisol) and average heart rate of a group of students dropped after they spent two nights camping in the forest compared to another group of students who stayed in town.
So if you are battling chronic stress, maybe you should spend more time outdoors to recalibrate your mind and soul.
Increased Vitamin D Production
It is rare to see people who spend quality time outdoors with a vitamin D deficiency. This is because the body produces this important vitamin whenever you expose the skin to sunlight. Vitamin D is no ordinary micronutrient, but an essential factor in the body’s immune system. In New Jersey this is a major issue for most people.
Studies show that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation and protect against depression, cancer, autoimmune disease, stroke, osteoporosis, heart attack and more. If you spend most of your daylight hours indoors, you are missing out of an important gift of nature.
Fortunately, you can get as much vitamin D as you want by being outdoors. During the summer, go out and expose your skin to the sunlight for 10-15 minutes a day and that will help boost your vitamin D levels.
Being outdoors can help you forget your worries. People who hike or take long walks in nature understand this feeling. One reason for this is that natural light puts people in a more relaxed mood. Plus there is always ample opportunity to squeeze in some physical activity while outside which gets those feel-good hormones flowing.
If you have been feeling down lately, try going to the park and watch birds courting on the trees, or squirrels looking for food. From the flora, fauna to geological attractions, there is an abundance of spectacular sights to get lost in when you are outdoors. Why wouldn’t you be happy?
The outdoors holds a lot of secrets worth exploring. And natural light has a calming effect on the body. Artificial illumination such as LED bulbs and the blue light from your TV and smartphone not only disrupt sleep but can damage your sight after prolonged use. There is so much to enjoy outdoors if only you only would create the time.
Step outside more to enjoy the health-enhancing benefits of the world around us. This time of the year can be difficult to get outside due to the cold. Try to take 10-15 minutes a day and get outside, I promise it will have a beneficial impact on your health and longevity!
Yours in health,