Remember when we were kids and our parents were constantly badgering us about going outside to play? All we really wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch reruns of The Brandy Bunch, but they were usually quite insistent. When we inevitably asked why we needed to leave the comfy confines of our homes they’d usually give us some vague answer about how it was “good for you.”
Well, it turns out mom and dad knew a thing or two, even if they didn’t have any science to back up their claims. Going outside really is good for your health, even as an adult. Here are some ways that spending a little time outdoors can improve your mood, clear your mind, and make you an all-around healthier person.
A Shot of Vitamin D
One of the better known side effects of going outside is that your body can actually pick up a healthy dose of vitamin D from just being exposed to the sun. This helps to promote stronger bones, which can help to stave off osteoporosis. But there is also mounting evidence that suggests that vitamin D can also help to prevent type 1 diabetes, as well as certain types of cancer, including colon, breast, and prostate. And with a plentiful supply right out your front door, you don’t even need to take supplements. (WebMD)
Improved Immune System
Looking for ways to boost your immune system so you can fight off illnesses such as the flu or the common cold? Then you’ll definitely want to head outside. Studies have shown that taking a walk in the woods has a positive impact on your white blood cell count, which is important in fending off viruses and germs that can make you sick. Better yet, the benefits from that simple hike have been shown to hang around for as much as a week after the visit to the forest, which indicates that the impact on the immune system is substantial and long lasting. (NCBI)
Going outside has been proven to help restore your focus. Connecting with nature allows us to escape the daily grind, which puts constant demands on our attention. Computers, smartphones, televisions, and other types of technology can bombard us with updates, notifications, and messages, sometimes to the point that it can be overwhelming. But stepping away from those devices not only helps to clear the mind, but allows it to focus more keenly as well. Spending time outdoors on a daily basis is like a mini-vacation from those distractions, giving your brain the break it deserves. (Journal of Environmental Psychology)
In addition to being incredibly distracting, modern life is also very stressful. We all have bills to pay, jobs to do, and friends and family that demand our attention. Simply going outside is one of the best ways to combat that stress, as nature has a way of bringing a sense of serenity to our lives. Taking a walk can go a long way towards helping you to relax, even more so if it is on a secluded trail rather than a busy street. You’ll be amazed at just how much a short stroll can do for your overall well being, bringing stress levels down and bestowing a sense of calmness. (NCBI)
It Will Make You Happy!
Pure and simple, going outside will improve your mood and make you a happier person. In fact, researchers have found that when we perform the same exact activities outdoors as we do when we’re inside, our levels of satisfaction and contentment go up considerably. That means taking a walk outdoors is better for you than walking inside on a treadmill. The same can be said for other forms of exercise too. But the bottom line is that nature just has a way of putting us in a better mood, no matter what we’re doing. (NCBI)
These are just a few examples of how going outside can have a positive impact on your life. If you need further proof, just start spending a bit of extra time outdoors and you’ll start to see the impact it can have on your life for yourself.