Do you get outside every day? Grab your shoes and head out there because the health benefits go way beyond trimming and toning. “The physiological response to being outside in nature is real, and it’s measurable,” said Michelle Kondo, a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station told the USDA website. “There are many physical and psychological benefits of nature that scientists have observed, which can better help us understand how nature supports wellness in the body, mind and community.” For those who get outside every day the benefits include reduced stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension and heart rates – which are all contributing factors to heart disease, the number one killer of Americans.
Get Outside Every Day: Benefits
- Better mood. Researchers at University of California at Berkeley report that walking among, or simply gaze at, trees “walking in a forest experienced less anxiety, hostility, fatigue, confusion, and depressive symptoms, and more vigor, compared to walking in an urban setting. The results were even stronger for people who were more anxious to begin with.”
- Reduced inflammation. The combination of breathing fresh air and your skin’s exposure to vitamin D from the sun is enough to reduce inflammation all over your body. According to Harvard medical school, a chronic state of inflammation can lead to numerous health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
- Better focus. Studies have shown that being in nature can restore and strengthen our mental capacities, increasing focus and attention. In fact for those with ADHD, spending time outside in natural surroundings has been linked to an increased ability to focus.
- Helps us heal quicker. Multiple studies show that spending time outside – or simply having a view of nature from inside – promotes healing in all areas. This includes mental wellness as well as surgery recovery and more.
- Supports graceful aging. Older adults who spend time outside experience fewer depressive symptoms, a lesser fear of falling and overall better agility. Plus, sleep often becomes an issue as we age. If you’re able to get outside every day, you’ll likely find that you sleep better.
Get Outside Every Day: How To Do It
We’ve covered the reasons why it’s important to get outside every day, and these are a handful of easy ways to make it possible.
- Start your day on the porch. Take your tea or coffee outside and drink in the fresh air while you’re at it.
- Take a morning walk. Studies show that morning walks are outstanding for your health, and the boost of outdoor energy is a big reason why. If you can even set aside 10 minutes before you get dressed, you’ll notice a big difference.
- Eat lunch outside. Make it a habit to enjoy that sandwich outside, even if it’s quick. Give your eyes a break from a computer screen and artificial lighting and exchange it for sunshine.
- Take an after-dinner walk or bike ride. For couples, families or pet owners, walking after dinner is a great way to catch up on the day’s stories. It’s often easier to talk when both people are facing forward, instead of having the pressure of direct eye contact. Plus, exercise!
- Watch the sunset. If your home isn’t positioned in a way that makes a sunset easy to catch, don’t miss The Golden Hour about two hours before. That’s when the sky’s light is soft and indeed casts a golden hue on the world. It’s a spectacular way to end the day.
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