It’s no secret that spending time outside is good for you. But did you know it’s actually one of the easiest ways to improve your mental health and well-being? People tend to overlook this massive pillar of wellness, which is why we thought it was important to touch on it today. Below, we’ve compiled some of the mental and physical benefits of taking time to reconnect outside.
The first, and one of the most important, mental benefits that you may experience from spending time outdoors is a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms. It is thought to be helpful due to something called light therapy. It is also thought sunlight has a protective effect since it can help your body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is well-known for its role in benefiting those with mood disorders.
Alongside helping to fight anxiety and depression, those who spend more time outside often experience improved emotional well-being. Outdoor time is known to help relieve unwanted or painful emotions like fear, worry, and stress. It may also help promote emotions you want to feel more of, like happiness and a sense of calm.
If you’re looking to increase your academic performance, getting outside may be a way to help. Many studies show that even short-term exposure to the outdoors helps with concentration and focus in almost all individuals. It’s not exactly known how this happens, but researchers are leaning towards the fact that since the outdoors promotes a sense of calm, individuals are better able to focus.
Two major physical benefits of being outside include lower blood pressure and weight management. There are two major theories behind this. For one, those who spend time outdoors are often moving more. For example, going on a hike, mowing the lawn, or walking their dog. This extra movement aids in the reduction of blood pressure and leads to the expenditure of extra calories. However, these benefits are often seen in people who just sit outside as well. Interestingly enough, this ties back in with stress. Since being outdoors lowers stress, blood pressure also tends to go down. People who are less stressed are often more likely to be more in tune with their hunger cues and therefore eat less.
Spending time outside also greatly impacts your immune function. Viruses have a harder time spreading outside, so you’re less likely to get sick! Also, if you live your life in a completely sterile environment, your immune system can lose its ability to recognize what is and isn’t dangerous. The outdoors expose our bodies to new bacteria, so that we are able to become familiar with them.
Longevity is also another positive benefit. Those who spend time outdoors often age in a more graceful manner. It could be that people who spend more time outside are more active and social. We know that both of these things are very good for your health.
So, with this in mind, go spend some time outdoors! With the promise of lowered blood pressure, increased immunity, better mental health, and so much more, what do you have to lose?!