Most of us spend more time inside than we realize. Hooked to screens and sedate, our health suffers when we don’t prioritize going outdoors. In fact, simply getting outside can improve your health in a variety of ways.
Feeling anxious or in a bad mood? Go outside. Studies show that simply being in nature can help lower your anxiety and lift your mood. However, where you go when outside matters.
While being outside in almost any environment is helpful, being in a natural setting as opposed to an urban one had a more profound, positive effect on the state of a person’s mental health. That’s why taking a hike surrounded by trees or camping in Greater Niagara are better options than simply walking through a park covered in concrete. Even glamping counts as long as you have easy access to nature around you.
We spend a large amount of time looking at screens. In today’s tech-driven world, most of us don’t have a choice. Screens are required for our jobs and they help us stay in touch with loved ones. However, they are wrecking our eyesight.
For a vision lift, get outside. Focusing on nature instead of a screen can help alleviate headaches and improve blurry vision. It’s okay to take your phone to grab a picture while you explore, but make sure to spend the majority of your time outside looking at what is actually around you. Use your sense of sight to discover the world anew after too much time indoors.
If you feel like your brain is like a computer with too many tabs open, it’s time to get outdoors. You will likely come back inside with more mental clarity and creative ideas than you ever would have experienced sitting inside.
Being in nature focuses your attention on what is around you, and this helps shut down the lack of focus most of us experience while trying to multi-task. Use all five senses to explore your environment, and your brain will reward you by allowing you to slow down and take in your surroundings. Time in nature has even been shown to have a positive effect on children with ADHD. It helps these kids focus their attention, a skill they need help developing.
Avoiding the outdoors is not the way to build up your immune system. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. Not getting enough vitamin D can adversely affect your body’s immune response as well as your bone health. Lack of vitamin D has also been tied to an increased risk for depression. Getting out in the sun regularly offers a natural dose of vitamin D.
Make sure you follow safety guidelines for your skin if you’re going to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time. The goal is not to burn your skin but to simply absorb vitamin D naturally. Wear sunscreen or protective clothing if you are going to be outside for hours.
You’ve probably heard that sitting too much can be as dangerous as smoking. This is not an unfair comparison. A sedate lifestyle puts you at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other health problems. Simply stepping out your front door can help you lower these risks.
When you spend time outside, you’re more likely to move your body. Hiking, swimming, or camping all require you to stay active. You may even choose to go canoeing, skiing, or rock climbing, but it’s unlikely you are going to go outside and simply sit. You don’t have to train to perform rigorous activities while in nature. Just exploring your environment will keep you on your feet and benefit your health.
Our society is focused on doing. We measure our hours by how productive they are, and productivity usually means doing instead of just allowing ourselves to be. Nature is a great teacher when it comes to learning how to simply be. Detached from the expectation to produce or achieve, nature can help you eliminate the stress you’ve been holding in your body that can harm your mental and physical wellbeing.
Get outside every day, and plan trips into nature for extended periods of time. Your mind and body will thank you.