5 Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
Sunshine, trees, the breeze, and rustling leaves – what’s not to love about being immersed in nature? According to studies, the experience of time outdoors heals us. Outdoor activities improve our mood, immunity, and overall health.
Whether you like to go outside for an easy stroll, a run, or just to lay out on the beach – being out in nature will improve your health. Combine nature with physical activity and seriously bolster your immune system and your mental well-being (What a great way to feed two birds with one scone!)
A silver lining in our global situation these past few years has been an increase in outdoor activities. The benefits of nature have been helping to heal our hearts and health in uncertain and stressful times. Participation in hiking from 2019 to 2020 rose by over 8%. Getting back to nature has been helping the population stay healthy and happy.
What are some of the benefits of being outdoors?
- Time Spent in Nature Reduces Stress
A research study from Cornell found that college students felt more content after spending just 10 minutes outdoors. Science Daily quotes lead author Gen Meredith, “The impetus for this work is a movement toward prescribing time in nature as a way to prevent or improve stress and anxiety, while also supporting physical and mental health outcomes.” This research suggests that the benefits of being in nature are strong enough to be prescribed by physicians! With no side effects, a daily dose of outdoor activity is safe for everyone.
- Outdoor Time Improves Mental Health
Other researchers have similar findings in children and people of all ages. In Denmark, studies consistently show that children who live and spend time in green spaces are less likely to experience mental health disorders and depression throughout their lives. In addition, nature may give us a sense of purpose, a reason to be kind, and improved overall outlook on day-to-day life experiences.
- Being Outside Improves Brain Function
Exposure to natural settings and time spent in nature increases attention and creativity. Need to get your creative juices flowing for a big project? Maybe going outside to soak up some rays and listen to the breeze is all you need to succeed. The decompression you can experience from just ten minutes spent outdoors has the potential to fix your mental block and get your mind operating at its full capacity.
- Spending Time In Nature Improves Sleep
Sometimes we throw our circadian rhythm way off. Screens, time spent indoors, caffeine, stimulants, and other behaviors that we partake in on an average day are all culprits here. But, spending time in nature, specifically camping, can help reset the clock! Makes sense, after all, for us to reconnect with the passage of time when we watch the sun rise and set.
- Walking Outdoors is Anti-Inflammatory
Researchers have shown that being outside may have benefits for the body as well. Light activity outdoors has been linked to a reduction in chronic pain and inflammation. Gentle exercise like walking can improve circulation, while the time spent in a green space can help reduce stress. The result? An overall improvement in general well-being and a useful and practical method of pain management.
A Serene Lifestyle
We do what we can to improve our physical and mental health. Spending time in nature is a simple way to support a healthy lifestyle. For those of us with a sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to know that cocoa has many of the same benefits as time spent outdoors. When making small tweaks to your lifestyle, consider more time in nature, and more delicious natural cocoa to improve your mood. Eating chocolate or cacao causes your body to produce serotonin, aka “the happiness hormone.” Cocoa is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. That’s what we like to call a super food!