There is nothing as refreshing as a breath of fresh air first thing in the morning when you open the window or walk out your front door. There is also something rather therapeutic about taking a short walk or spending time just sitting outside. But let’s face it. For many of us, the reality is that we don’t spend nearly as much time outside as we would like to. Between commuting, working, spending time with family, and tending to household chores, it’s no surprise that the average American spends upwards of 93% of their time indoors.
As we leave summer behind, the days will be getting shorter and the weather will start cooling off, which can make it even more tempting to spend our free time with our feet up indoors instead of enjoying some fresh air and sunshine. However, spending time outside comes with a variety of benefits for both your mental and physical health. So if you need a little extra motivation to spend more time outside this fall, remind yourself of these amazing benefits it offers for your health.
1. It Encourages You To Be More Active
Staying inside makes it easy to sit and watch TV, scroll through social media, or take a nap when we have free time. However, once you step outside, it is more tempting to take a walk, go for a job, do some gardening, or tend to other outdoor chores. What’s more? Choosing to exercise outdoors instead of indoors makes it more likely that you will stick to your routine in the long run.
2. It Helps You Relax
Sun, trees, and fresh air—it’s a winning combination if you are looking for some relaxation. Have you noticed when you go to the countryside, the mountains or to the beach, you always return to your normal life feeling a lot less stressed? That is how powerful spending more time in nature can be for your health. Research shows that it only takes five minutes for nature to make you feel less stressed and more relaxed.
3. It Allows You To Soak Up Vitamin D
When you take a walk outside, especially on a sunny day, you are giving your body a chance to soak up some vitamin D. This important vitamin is vital to the health of your skin, bones, and immune system. Spending as little as 10 to 15 minutes in the sun can help you enjoy the many health benefits of vitamin D.
4. It’s Great For Your Brain
Taking a few minutes to soak up the sun and inhale some fresh air can do wonders for your brain. Research has found that being exposed to natural environments can not only help to enhance your ability to focus but can also improve both working memory and cognitive function.
5. It Boosts Your Mood
Not only does nature help enhance cognitive function, but it can also have a positive effect on your mood and the way view and interact with the world around you. One study found that spending time outdoors leads to increased feelings of happiness and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life. What’s more? Research also indicates that the simple act of spending time with nature can also encourage us all to be kinder and more generous to those around us.
6. It Helps Your Eyesight
Spending time in the sun daily is good for your eyes. Studies show that young people between 7 and 15 years old who spend too much time indoors, especially staring at a screen, are more at risk of having declining eyesight as they get older. Spending time in front of a screen as an adult can also lead to dry, strained eyes. With that in mind, it’s best to take your eyes off the screen for a while each day and step outside to protect your eyesight.
7. It Helps You Sleep Better
Your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is largely dependent on your exposure to light, especially sunlight. If you find that you are struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, spending time outside during the day can help. Not only will the sunlight and fresh air help you relax and clear your mind, but they will also help your body’s internal clock reset. In fact, spending between 30 and 60 minutes outside each day may be all it takes to help improve your sleep patterns.
8. It Boosts Your Immune System
Many of the benefits we’ve already discussed play a role in the way your immune system functions. For example, your immune system relies on your body having an adequate amount of vitamin D in order to function properly, and factors like stress and physical activity can also impact your immune system. However, the benefits of nature on your immune system go even further, thanks to phytoncides. In short, phytoncides are substances that are released into the air by a variety of different plants and have been found to have a positive effect on the human immune system. In fact, research has found that inhaling these phytoncides can help boost your body’s natural killer cells, which are in charge of wiping out any harmful intruders that make their way into your body.
Get Out and Get Moving
With so many benefits for your health, there is no doubt that we should all be spending time outside every day. That’s why we consider it an important part of living the #NewEarthLife. So go ahead and join us in embracing all the benefits of the great outdoors by taking a walk, tending to your garden, going sightseeing, or simply basking in the sunshine. Better yet, make it a habit to step outside for a few extra minutes every day even as the chilly weather sets in. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
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