Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after spending time outside, whether it be at the beach, laying in the grass, or taking a walk somewhere?
Well, there’s an excellent reason for that. As human beings, we are intrinsically linked to all other living systems. That would include the sand, sun, grass, and free-flowing water, and all things nature.
In fact, it’s well known among the medical community that spending time in nature has incredible benefits on both your physical and mental health—which is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this post.
The Benefits of Being Outdoors
However you decide to spend your time outdoors, whether it be nature adventure holidays, a weekend camping trip, or going for a run on a local park trail, your body and mind will benefit in a multitude of ways.
Unfortunately, many of us have become accustomed to spending time indoors. Especially now as we continue to face the global COVID-19 pandemic, our beds seem like the friendliest place in the world. However, whether you’ve picked up a few bad habits during lockdown or just generally enjoy the comfort of your own home, it’s time to get up and start getting outside.
It Boosts Your Vitamin D Levels
We all know that too much such can be damaging to your skin and it causes premature wrinkles. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid it for the sake of your vanity.
Exposure to the sun boosts our vitamin D levels, which regulates the nutrients in our muscle and bones, and reduces our chances of things like cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. It also kills disease-causing bacteria. That’s why medical experts recommend that you get between 15 and 20 minutes of sun daily. Just wear an SPF to combat photoaging and overexposure.
It Alleviates Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Did you know that there’s a Japanese practice referred to as shinrin-yoku or forest bathing? The practice simply involves spending time in the forest among the trees, soaking in all that nature has to offer through each of the senses.
There have been several studies done on the concept of forest bathing and spending time in nature showing a link between reduced cortisol levels—the stress hormone—just from spending some time in nature. High levels of cortisol have been known to also affect anxiety and depression, among other health issues.
It Can Improve Sleep
Natural light is actually what helps dictate our circadian rhythm, so spending more time outside can help regulate our sleep patterns. When the sun goes down, our bodies begin to naturally release the sleep hormone melatonin as a response to the darkness.
That’s why it’s also important to limit your screen time before bed since artificial light can interfere with your melatonin production.
It Strengthens Your Immune System
Between the sun’s rays, the fresh air, and the plant phytoncides, you have the natural immune-boosting properties you can get your hands on. It also aids in reducing inflammation, which begins with the immune system.
Research suggests that spending time outdoors can keep everything from ADHD and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and cancer at bay. This is largely due to the phytoncides which increase a certain type of white blood cells and the sun which strengthens our infection-fighting T cells.
It May Improve Your Eyesight
If you spend a lot of time outside, especially during childhood, it’s likely that you’ve got great vision. This is because spending time in nature allows you to relax your eyes, rather than continuously focus on up-close objects, reducing the cause for myopia (nearsightedness).
Even as an adult, myopia or no myopia, taking a break from the damaging screens and looking out into the great beyond is a great way to give your eyes a rest.
It Helps Your Memory
A recent study found that spending time outside can improve your short-term memory and cognitive function by 20%. This is because natural scenes engage our involuntary attention with ease, allowing us to simply gaze rather than focus directly on multiple things at once. In essence, it’s restorative and relaxing for our brains.
Apparently, it also works just by looking at images of nature, but it’s better to go outside.
It Makes You Happier
Spending time outside contributes greatly to your overall happiness and satisfaction—both immediately in general. For one thing, there are so many enjoyable activities available to all fitness levels that can be done outdoors, that you’re guaranteed to get an endorphin boost.
It also helps that communing with nature comes with a laundry list of physical and mental health benefits. So, even if you’re not out for exercise, you’ll still come home feeling lighter and brighter compared to if you spend the day inside curled up on the couch.
It Will Inspire You
It’s no secret that the best ideas come to us when we’re in a total state of relaxation, and relaxation is indeed nature’s speciality. Nature’s other speciality is lending herself to so many colours and beautiful sights, not to mention the vast aromas and sounds—all things that can get your creative juices flowing.
All you really need is a few hours a week spent outdoors to reap the inspiring benefits that nature has to offer. You can also add some soundscapes into your space while you work, sleep or eat breakfast. Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist who collects sounds from all over the world, and his soundtracks are guaranteed to put you at ease.
It Helps You Burn Some Extra Calories
Even if you’re not planning to get outside for exercise, you’re still guaranteed to get a little bit if you’re spending time outdoors. Whether you’re going for a walk, doing yard work, or taking your pups to the dog park, you’ll still be burning more calories than you would sitting at your desk or laying in bed.
Of course, if you are planning on exercising you’ll likely burn even more calories outdoors than you would at the gym. This is mainly because most activities done outside provide for total body workouts. Even a simple run outdoors can provide more for you than on a treadmill.
It Increases Your Sense of Spirituality
As mentioned earlier, spending time in nature allows you to relax and keeps your involuntary focus at ease. There’s a reason why the great minds recommend going for a walk when you feel stressed or frustrated.
It’s because being outdoors lets you clear your mind as you breathe and live in the moment, taking in the sights, sounds, and aromas. It’s one of the many mediation experiences that will provide you with the valuable lessons and metaphors that only nature can provide.
You Need to Get Out More
With all the health benefits that spending time in nature provides, there’s no excuse not to get out of the house and your comfort zone. That means changing up your routine to get out more and making more meaningful travel plans.
Speaking of purposeful travel, here at We Love Transformational Travel, we specialise in life-changing vacations that go beyond your typical party on the beach getaway. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can guide you towards more life-changing travel—or as we like to call it, transformational travel.