Written by Geoff Johnson
Recent studies have shown that the average American spends 90 percent of their life indoors. Modern technology has given humans more comfort and less of a need to go outside. Even incredibly fit people often spend little time outdoors by getting their work out in a nice air-conditioned indoor gym. Another group of recent studies have come to show us what we’re missing out on by spending most of our times indoors. Turns out, spending some time outdoors has amazing physical and mental perks!
We’ll start with the physical. The first benefit studies have shown is that spending time outside can boost your energy. Twenty minutes outside can give the same energy boost as a cup of coffee! And once you get that boost of energy, scientists found that it feels much easier to exercise outdoors.
This is especially true with cardio workouts like running and biking. It has been shown that people are much more motivated when running or biking on trails than on stationary equipment.
One of the most important benefits is that spending time outdoors can boost your immune system. Breathing in airborne chemicals from plants, called phytoncides, make our body produce more white blood cells so we can fight off infections and diseases better!
Getting outdoors more as a child can have great benefits as well, as it has been shown that the more time kids spend outside the less likely they will develop vision problems. The final benefit is that being outdoors, and in the sun, gives you your daily dose of vitamin D, which helps people absorb calcium, reduces inflammation, and lowers your risk for osteoporosis.
Now let’s take a look at some of the mental perks of being outside! First, sunlight helps mitigate pain. A study of people who went through surgery found that those who would spend time in the sun had noticeably less pain and choose to take less pain killers in their recovery.
Being outside also provides free aromatherapy. Studies have found that literally smelling the flowers can reduce stress. But it doesn’t have to be flowers, the smell of pines and fresh cut grass can also do the trick.
It is also important to get outside if you need some new ideas for work or personal projects. A study showed that people score much higher on creativity test after a few days out in nature.
A huge reason to spend time outdoors is the recent finding that it can help with seasonal affective disorder. Studies have shown even if the weather is cold or overcast, being outdoors can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion, and sadness.
It has also been proven that being outdoors can restore your focus. In the middle of a long and tiring work day a short walk outside can bring you back to productivity!
Finally, and most importantly, scientist have found that being outdoors makes you a better person. The more time a person spends outside the less likely they are to worry about societal pressures and focus more on relationships, their community, and personal goals!
So, find a fun reason to spend more time outside in your day to day life and soon you will see these benefits yourself!