There is a multitude of scientific studies and researches that promote exercising in the great outdoors for its immersive health benefits. So we’ll cover the most important ones.
More than half of the workforce spends the majority of their time indoors. Many of those workers sit chained to a desk and keyboard for hours at a time. And the lack of sunshine and fresh air can take its toll.
The great outdoors really is truly great for many reasons, including your health.
There are a lot of mental and physical reasons that you should be spending more time outside, going for hikes, cooking over a campfire, walking around your neighborhood, or even biking to work.
Below are the most important health-related reasons to spend more time in the great outdoors.
The Health Benefits Of The Great Outdoors
If you’re not into outdoor activities, you should definitely change your mind. Hopefully, these health benefits of the great outdoors will do just that:
1. Improved Fitness
The CDC recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
In order to meet that requirement, many people exercise outside. It’s free and more accessible for individuals than a gym membership.
Spending time in the great outdoors also increases your likelihood of exercising without it feeling like a workout.
You can go hiking, biking, or even hunting to get your heart rate up and improve your fitness regime.
2. Strengthened Immune System
Although it’s nice to have a break from work every once in a while, nobody likes to get sick. And spending time outside might be the solution.
Studies have shown that a daily dose of fresh air, even if it’s a little colder, can boost your immune system and decrease your likelihood of getting sick.
Even more than that, these studies show that those who are outside regularly are less likely to develop chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
All around, you can enjoy a healthier you.
3. Lower Risk Of Depression
Exposure to the sun is the best benefit of being in the great outdoors regarding mental health. It allows your body to make vitamin D, which is known to reduce your feelings of depression.
Studies have also pointed to the use of outdoor or “green exercise” as a means of reducing depression in individuals. “Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood,” the study said while showing that “the mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements.”
Researchers have also determined that it can help with other mental health problems, such as ADHD. “Doses of nature might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool … for managing ADHD symptoms,” BusinessInsider reported.
4. Better Memory And Focus
Spending too much time indoors could actually be catastrophic on our memories and focus.
A study indicated that the lack of stimuli from being indoors for 90 percent of the day can be detrimental to our short-term memories and our ability to focus.
Those who have long commutes also experience severe issues with attention spans and short-term memory because of the repetitive, monotonous nature of the act.
On the flip side, studies have shown that if you take even just a short walk in nature, it can restore cognitive functions and improve short-term memory.
So, when you’re feeling unproductive and struggling to focus, see if a walk helps.
5. Enhanced Vision
“Increasing time spent outdoors may be a simple strategy by which to reduce the risk of developing myopia [near sightedness] and its progression in children and adolescents,” a 2012 review concluded.
This comes from a study in Australia that watched more than 2,000 school-aged children for two years.
They found that the kids who spent more time outdoors had a lower risk of developing myopia. This is likely the result of forcing the eyes to take in a lot more while outside compared to the screen time they likely see inside.
6. Healthier Heart
Research from Japan showed that those who spent time forest bathing, which involves sitting in the forest for prolonged amounts of time, had lower blood pressure and more consistent pulse.
It also showed a decrease in stress, which prevents serious issues like stroke or heart attack.
It also decreases your likelihood of becoming overweight, which directly benefits your heart. “In both kids and adults, access and exposure to nature has been shown to lower the risk of obesity,” says Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, ND. “This relationship is most likely due to increased physical activity.”
Even in the winter, spending time in the great outdoors can provide a huge benefit to your mental and physical health.
With the New Year coming up soon, consider making outdoor time a resolution.
Get more like this
in your inbox
Sign up for our daily email with fitness and nutrition tips, diets and weight loss programs, health news, and more.