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With summer approaching and the days becoming longer, many of us will find ourselves spending more time outdoors. Whether it’s for a barbecue or a weekend spent camping, getting outside in the fresh air can provide a multitude of benefits.

5 Reasons Why You Should Spend More Time Outdoors

Other than getting fresh air, spending time outdoors can provide benefits for your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re questioning just how important it is to get up off the couch and head outside, then maybe you’ll be convinced after reading these reasons:

1. You Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D can affect your physical and mental health, warding off diseases like osteoporosis, heart attacks, depression, and cancer. Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to ensure you’re producing enough vitamin D, which occurs when the sunlight hits the skin and activates vitamin D creation. Just make sure you don’t overdo your sunlight exposure and that you use sunscreen.

2. You’ll Get More Physical Activity

It’s important that we get in some kind of physical activity each and every day. Whether it’s a light stroll or a game of soccer, physical activity is incredibly important to our health. When you spend time outdoors, you’re more likely to participate in physical activity than if you were to just stay indoors at home or at the office.

3. Your Mood Will Improve

Have you ever seen those commercials where a person steps outside on a sunny day with blue skies, looking ridiculously happy and excited? That’s because getting fresh air and sunlight tends to boost one’s mood. Pair that with the physical activity your body may be partaking in outdoors, such as hiking or playing beach volleyball, and you’ve got even more reason to have increased endorphin levels.

4. Your Concentration and Focus Will Improve

It’s been found that children with ADHD have an easier time concentrating after spending time outdoors. While this may not ring exactly true for adults, sometimes stepping away from what you’re doing and getting fresh air can do wonders for your sense of focus and ability to concentrate.

5. Speed Up Your Recovery

If you’re fighting an illness or pain from an injury, getting outside can actually help you heal faster. One study showed that people who were recovering from spinal surgery experienced less pain and took fewer medications when they were exposed to sunlight. Another study showed that people in hospital rooms with windows facing trees and open scenery (vs. brick walls) had improved recovery as well.

Ideas for Getting Outside More

Sometimes getting outside isn’t about not wanting to spend time outdoors as much as it’s about not finding enough creative ways to do so. For instance, if you work in an office at a computer all day, it may seem like an impossible idea to go for a hike in the middle of the day.

Instead, we suggest taking short breaks throughout the day to take advantage of the natural sunlight and fresh air. Here are some tips to spend more time outdoors:

  • Drink your coffee outside in the morning. If you have a balcony or porch, take your cup of coffee outside and enjoy it in the cool, morning air.
  • Eat your lunch outside. Even if your office doesn’t have an outdoor seating area, it may be close enough to a local coffee shop or cafe where you can sit outside at their tables.
  • Go for a walk before dinner. Whether you have a dog to walk or not, taking a 20 minute stroll outside before dinner doesn’t take up much of your time and will allow you to bask in the last minutes of daylight. You might even catch a beautiful sunset!
  • Walk to work. If you live close enough to your place of work, then skip the car and walk or bike to work. You’ll get in a little bit of exercise while also reaping the other benefits of spending time outdoors.

References

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Spending time outdoors is good for you, from the Harvard Health Letter. Retrieved April 13, 2018, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/spending-time-outdoors-is-good-for-you