Why You Should Spend More Time Outdoors
As the calendar tells us to “spring forward” for the beginning of daylight savings time, excitement often builds for many people. The time change is a sign that we will be experiencing longer days and warmer temperatures in the coming months.
Since you may have felt cooped up during the winter months (between the weather and pandemic restrictions), more sunlight and less frigid air is likely a welcome change. That makes it the perfect time to spend more time outdoors. Sure, the change of scenery will do you good. But there are other major benefits of being outside.
Here are five good reasons to head outdoors as much as possible:
- Improved health and well-being. Just 20 minutes in nature has been shown to improve mental and physical health. Time spent outdoors can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, slow heart rate and boost your mood. It doesn’t matter where you do it, as long as you’re outdoors. Whether you spend time in your yard, a neighborhood park or an exotic beach, you’ll reap the positive impact of being outside.
- A stronger immune system. Did you know your body converts sunlight into vitamin D through your skin? People who don’t get enough sun exposure run the risk of being deficient in vitamin D, a nutrient that plays an important role in immune system function. Spending time outdoors allows your body to get the sunlight it needs to naturally produce enough of this important nutrient. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
- Better self-esteem and mood. Being outside can impact your mood and self-esteem in a positive way. If you spend time in green spaces or around water, the positive effects may be even greater, according to some data.
- More motivation to exercise. If you have a hard time getting your steps in, heading outside can provide you with some motivation. Being outdoors gives you access to a variety of different environments that can help you stay physically active. Instead of forcing yourself to get on the treadmill when you’re not in the mood, head to a trail for some hiking, jump on your bike for a spin around the neighborhood or go to a playground for some good ol’ fashioned active fun.
- Less stress. Stress and anxiety can be crippling. But if you can find even a few minutes out of your busy schedule to head outside, it may help reduce that stress and anxiety. Whether you stroll through a quiet park or just sit outside your house or office and listen to the wind blow, the change of scenery and fresh air will do you good.
As the number of hours of daylight continues to increase in the coming days, weeks and months, make it a point to spend more time outdoors. It can have a profound impact on your physical and mental health, and can boost your overall well-being.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 15, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD