Modern technology is making it easier to spend more and more time inside. Unfortunately, it’s preventing us from getting all the wonderful health benefits that come with getting outside! According to one survey, 25% of Americans said they spend almost all day indoors, rarely going outside on any given day. The EPA estimates that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. (1) We are spending more time inside, even though most of us would agree we feel better after spending a day outdoors.
No matter where you live, many of us are at our computers most of the day, and by the time we get home, we are rushing off to meet other obligations. Before we know it, the day is over, and we haven’t spent any time outside. It’s time to rethink all that indoor time. A 2018 report found that spending time in nature may improve overall health and reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. (2) Whether you’re taking a walk or working in the garden, there are many health benefits of spending more time outside.
Let’s talk about some of the benefits of being outside. We’re betting that you’ll agree that it’s worth finding time for.
6 Health Benefits of Getting Outside
1 – Increases Your Vitamin D
Spending time outside increases your vitamin D! When the sunlight hits your skin, the body synthesizes a hormone that plays a role in 1000 genes and numerous physiological processes. Those deficient in vitamin D are more likely to get colds and flu. (3) They are also more likely to have more severe outcomes like pneumonia once they get sick.
2 – Boosts Your Mood
Studies show that those who spend more time outside and in nature report being happier and more positive than those who don’t get outside. Time outdoors boosts your serotonin which can help improve your mood. Outdoor time has also been shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. Spending just 20-30 minutes outside can greatly reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Initial studies have shown spending time in nature has the potential to help those coping with major depression and PTSD. (4)
3 – Getting Outdoors Helps You Sleep
While spending time outside, you’re exposed to natural sunlight, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm. That rhythm tells your body when it’s time to get going in the morning and when it’s time to chill out at night, which means better sleep. Getting proper rest can help improve your overall health and your ability to handle stress.
4 – Need a Confidence Boost?
This one might surprise you, but being outside boosts self-esteem. Studies have shown that those who get out in nature more often have higher self-esteem and more positive body image. Confidence gets you going, and when you are out there conquering the world, it leads to more confidence.
5 – Nature Improves Focus
Technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected, and your brain is constantly shifting from one task to another. That’s not always a good thing! Spending time in nature gives your brain a break and can help restore your focus. Some studies have shown that there is potential for nature to help children cope with ADHD. (5)
6 – Improves Immunity
Increasing Vitamin D, lowering stress, and improving sleep can all add to improved Immunity. Do you know why people get sick more during the flu season? It’s not because the season has changed. It’s because they are spending more time inside, stressing out, and eating sugar. Spending time outside will help with 2 out of 3 of those. It’s one of the ways to support your immune system.
It’s Time to Get Outside
There are so many physical and mental health benefits of getting outside. Your outdoor time will encourage exercise and social connection. These are so important for building a healthy lifestyle. Get on your bike or play your favorite sport to reap the rewards. Make it something you enjoy! Why not try beekeeping? It’s your call! You get all the health benefits for free, but you need to carve out the time. Don’t miss opportunities to get outside to enjoy the perks!
To learn more about vitamin D, check out this video: