In recent years, many of us have been spending more time indoors and less time outdoors. With busy schedules, it can be difficult to prioritize spending time outside and in nature. But, did you know that spending more time outside can actually benefit your health and improve your quality of life? Today we are going to discuss why this is and provide you with ideas for spending time outside.
How Time Outside Impacts Health
Spending more time outside benefits our physical health in several ways. First, spending time outside helps us be more physically active. Many of the activities that we do outside such as walking, biking, or gardening include some form of physical activity and movement. Additionally, research has shown that spending more time outside can actually increase our motivation to exercise!
Not only does spending time outside increase our physical activity levels, but spending time in the sun also provides us with Vitamin D, an important nutrient for bone health.
Have you ever noticed your mood improve simply because you stepped outside? Research has shown that spending time in nature actually reduces stress levels while improving mood, increasing feelings of relaxation and happiness, and reducing feelings of mental distress. Additionally, spending time outside can improve overall brain function and cognition.
The outdoors offers us many opportunities to spend quality time with others. Whether it be asking a friend to go for a walk, kicking a soccer ball with your child, or having a cookout with friends and family, you will receive the benefits that come from socializing and connecting with others. Furthermore, according to Southern Utah University, research has shown that stronger social bonds and deeper relationships grow when we engage in physical activities with others. This is all the more reason to invite a friend along and get active outside.
Now that you know how spending more time outdoors can benefit your health, you may be wondering how you can get started. Below are a few simple ways to start spending more time outdoors:
- Go for a walk around your office or neighborhood
- Pack your lunch and have a picnic
- Go for a bike ride
- Take your dog to the dog park
- Go to the beach with a friend
- Choose outdoor seating at a restaurant
Authored by Angelika Keene & Hailey Peirce
Avitt, A. (2021, March 24). The wellness benefits of the great outdoors. Forrest Service US Department of Agriculture. https://www.fs.usda.gov/features/wellness-benefits-great-outdoors#:~:text=Studies%20also%20show%20that%20being,risk%20factors%20for%20cardiovascular%20disease
Health. (2022, January 20). The physical and mental benefits of getting outside in the winter. University of Utah. https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/2022/01/physical-and-mental-benefits-of-getting-outside-winter
Koonts, K. (2019, July 3). Five benefits of spending time outside. Southern Utah University. https://www.suu.edu/blog/2019/07/5-benefits-being-outside.html
National Park Service. (2023, March 30). Nature makes you…. US Department of the Interior. https://www.nps.gov/articles/naturesbenefits.htm; https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
Weir, K. (2020, April 1). Nurtured by nature. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature