Few experiences compare to being outdoors. Whether it’s a blistering summer day or a cool winter evening – there are so many ways you can be outdoors enjoying the atmosphere and making the most of a day or weekend. There are also some incredible health benefits to engaging in outdoor activities, which adults tend to forget about in favour of keeping a busy schedule and winding down with unhealthy screen time instead. Today, we are going to discuss what sort of health benefits you might be missing out on by staying indoors and just how easy it is to get out and about. Put your shoes on, because we are going to show you just how important it is to get outside.
Physical activity will lower your chance of diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart attack, and you don’t have to run a marathon to get these benefits, you just need to elevate your heart rate for about fifteen minutes. By taking on a hill, a set of stairs or even just a loop of your street could be adding literal years to your life. When comparing this exercise to indoors, you soon forget that you are exerting yourself as you can be exploring your city landmarks as you walk and too busy taking in the beauty to be out of breath. This is truly all it takes to maintain a healthy weight. Your weight should not be everything to you, but it can determine your quality of life and the opportunities and adventures that are available to you. You also want to be exposing yourself to fresh air often as this is going to not only refresh your body but also your mind and perspective by getting you out of your head. Physical activity outdoors is also recommended for those that deal with a variety of chronic illnesses, including IBS and fibromyalgia.
Vitamin D is truly the miracle vitamin with so many physical and cognitive benefits and yet many of us deficient in Vitamin D due to our modern work and life habits. Someone who has a healthy supply of Vitamin D will have more energy and vitality, but more importantly, they will be able to fight off sickness’ with ease. Simply being outdoors is going to open you up to a natural source of Vitamin D, which will strengthen your immunity at all times of the year. If you’re someone who gets seasonal hayfever and other symptoms, there is research to support that exposure is a great way of overcoming these symptoms so get outside and start testing your bandwidth when spring hits. You also want to consider what your outdoor movement is doing to your physical fitness, which is yet another line of defence against sickness, as it’s pretty rare that you will see a fit person get the common flu over and over through the course of a year.
Sleep is something that we all need more of, and yet we don’t take active steps in correcting our sleep hygiene which dictates our overall health and happiness. Getting outdoors not only exerts us enough to welcome sleep in the evening, but it also informs our body clock and how susceptible we are to sleep. Our eyes take in the lights, sunshine and external features and send a message of ‘daytime’ so that our body can better understand our ‘night-time’ cues later on. In fact, this is why blue light is so bad for our eyes in the evening as it mixes up signals and doesn’t prepare us for sleep. If a lot of your health issues are tied to exhaustion and not getting enough sleep, then consider working in some incidental exercise outdoors during the day and monitor how that influences your quality of sleep.
It’s important to remember that when discussing health benefits, we should be including mental health in that conversation as it is just as important. There is no use having a fit body and great physical habits if our minds are not in the best shape. Getting outdoors is important for your mental health, as it allows for mindful movement, which essentially means that you can commit to the activity of walking around the block or hiking track and be aware of your surroundings, your pace, breath and how you are connecting with these elements. To really achieve a mindful state, it’s probably a good idea to leave your phone at home, unless you can connect to your surroundings with music. Although let’s be honest – it’s so easier to glance at a notification and then realise you are home and didn’t take in anything from your walk. So it’s probably best to disconnect on all fronts and just immerse in your surroundings.
If your day already features yoga or other exercises in the living room or backyard, take your mat to a beautiful park or garden and do your practice there. Not only will the new surroundings get your out of the house and feeling refreshed, but you are more likely to be mindful in this movement if you aren’t looking at your overflowing laundry basket or lawn that needs to be mown.
Energy certainly feels like a finite resource, but getting outdoors and connecting with exercise or just enjoying nature is going to boost your energy exponentially. Moving your body and entering a new environment stimulates endorphins and this translates to a productive and content state – and one that you can channel into other healthy habits. If you find that you don’t have the interest or energy to cook a nutritious meal, meditate, socialise or any other healthy activity, then you might benefit from some outdoor activity at the start of the day to stimulate energy for the rest of the day.
It’s crazy to think about how much money we spend on expensive supplements and produce when we can be improving our health by simply leaving the house and enjoying the outdoors. Treat your body and mind to a healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine, and start to see measurable changes from these outdoor expeditions.