With winter in full swing, many of us yield to the forces of Mother Nature and end up staying in more so than usual. However, the number of health benefits derived from spending consistent time outdoors is huge so we’re here to convince you to brave the weather and head out there (unless there is extreme weather, of course).
"With so many health benefits to the great outdoors, get out there!" (Photo by Zach Dischner. )
Without further ado, here are 10 health benefits of an outdoor lifestyle:
1) Outdoor pursuits can increase physical activity – By going to a park, trail or mountain, you tend to increase the amount of physical activity than when you’re indoors. We all know how great physical activity is for our health!
2) Nature and greenery may reduce psychological disorders – Being surrounded by nature helps reduce negative mental health. To note, it’s not clear whether that is because nature promotes physical activity or due to the presence of nature.
3) Nature can boost your mood – Your brain releases powerful neurochemicals that aid in feeling happy and satisfied, when you go outside.
4) Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D – Vitamin D helps prevent autoimmune conditions and encourages muscle building: all the more reason to get your daily bit of sunshine! Remember that sun protection is important, especially during the summer months.
5) Connecting with nature can reduce stress – According to a review of scientific studies by Minding our Bodies, getting out to nature helps reduce our stress levels.
6) Surrounding yourself with nature may improve your cognitive abilities – A study published in Psychological Science assigned two groups to walk in a city setting or a nature setting. The ones who walked in nature had improved memory and attention spans.
7) Walking outdoors may boost your vitality – A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that “individuals walking outdoors reported a greater change in vitality compared with indoor walkers.”
8) Nature can aid in healing – Horticultural therapy is gaining steam as a legitimate aid in boosting your body’s ability to heal. It’s no miracle cure but every little bit can help!
9) The freshest air possible - Plants can act as an air purifier, removing harmful particles and pollutants in the air. This allows your body to have a break from toxins.
10) The outdoors can boost concentration – A 2008 study found that children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after walking in nature, compared to walking in a residential neighborhood.
What are your top reasons for maintaining an outdoor lifestyle?