Health Benefits of being outside

How much time do you spend indoors?  Did you know that many Americans spend 90% f our lives indoors?  That time at our jobs in the office, commuting to and from our jobs, time in front of the TV and sleep.  Not only is that a depressing statistic, but there are real health benefits of being outdoors that we are missing out on.  Research suggests just 120 minutes per week is associated with good health, wellbeing and improving our moods.

Check out these 5 benefits of getting more outside time:

  1. We breathe better air, indoor air pollution can be up to 10 times worse than that of being outdoors. Most of us are taught that air pollution comes from factory smoke and car exhausts, but indoor air pollution is often significantly higher and more concentrated than outside.  Inadequate ventilation and filtering of chemicals found in cleaning products, paint, beauty products, and mold all contribute to pollution.
  2. Soak up that Vitamin D.  One of the most common deficiencies among American adults is a Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D is different from other vitamins because we can actually make it ourselves! Our bodies take UV light from the sun and through amazing biochemical pathways convert it into Vitamin D.  Whenever possible, try to get at least 10-15 minutes of unprotected time in the sun every day to take advantage of this amazing process.  Vitamin D is incredibly important for many functions in the body. It supports the nervous, immune, respiratory and digestive systems. Vitamin D also helps maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, regulates insulin and aids diabetes management.
  3. Adequate sunlight exposure helps counteract seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This disorder should not be common here in the Sunshine State, but with our office jobs and fluorescent lighting, this is becoming much more common.  Researchers believe vitamin D Deficiency and lack of natural light contribute to this disorder. To further counteract SAD exercise combined with your sun exposure will have a greater effect than sunlight alone.
  4. Have you ever heard of grounding?  This is a way of connecting to the earth’s magnetic energy by going barefoot.  Our feet draw in the earth’s electrical charges, allowing them to flow through us.  The results are improved sleep, reduced inflammation, and more time in nature.  Of course, this is practiced outside in your back yard, the beach, or any outdoor area you like.
  5. Walking or exercising outside can help reduce the feelings of anxiety. Research has found that just being outside in nature can improve your overall feelings of wellbeing and reduce anxiety  Escaping the indoors and heading outside can also boost creativity!

Struggling to find time to be outside?

Exercise outside.  Take your yoga sessions or treadmill workout outside to a local park or the beach instead.

Take a walk.  Break up your routine by taking a short walk outside after dinner or at lunch.

Eat outside.  Enjoy a change of scenery and take your meal outside.

Embrace seasonal activities. Cold outside?  Bundle up and go play outside!  Hot outside?  Try taking a hike through a shady forest or go to the beach!