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Spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming, and it's warming up. It's the perfect time of year to get outside.
Going outside boasts amazing benefits for your physical health and well-being. Even better, the research shows most of these perks start accruing at 120 minutes a week. That’s just about 17 minutes a day!
Below are six of the biggest reasons why going outside is so freaking good for you. Enjoy.
You’ll boost your Vitamin D intake
For a whole host of reasons, people are spending less and less time outside in this day and age. In fact, Vitamin D deficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. Our bodies are being deprived of that daily, sunny dose of Vitamin D.
Increased Vitamin D is proven to inhibit cancer cell growth, boost weight loss, and strengthen bones. It also helps stave off illnesses -- everything from the common cold to autoimmune diseases.
The sunlight vitamin keeps your serotonin levels elevated, too, while helping you absorb crucial minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Just getting some natural sunlight for 15-20 minutes a day does the body serious good.
Your stress levels will drop
Anecdotally, people just feel better and clearer after spending time outside or engaging with nature. But it’s more than that. There’s now scientific evidence that shows how the outdoors tangibly improves our brain health.
In a 2015 study, scientists found that participants who walked in a natural area for 90 minutes demonstrated decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is a part of the brain associated with anxiety, depression, and racing thoughts. Taking a stroll outside, in a serene setting, can significantly reduce the amount of stress people experience.
Going outside boasts other mental health perks, too. The soothing sounds of nature can decrease blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. And the sights of nature can calm your mind, distracting you from your worries and the stress of your phone screen.
You’ll get more quality 💤
Sunlight keeps your circadian rhythm in balance by telling your body when to release melatonin, the hormone that regulates what time we go to sleep and wake up. Not surprisingly, lots of people with sleep disorders also take Melatonin as a nightly supplement.
According to this study, the cells in your eyes need a certain amount of natural light each day to get your internal clock running on time. This is especially important with morning sunlight. The more sunlight your eyes get during the morning, the more effectively your body will be able to produce melatonin once the sun goes down and you’re cuddled up in bed.
Oh, and if you’re traveling to another timezone, a natural cure for jet lag is more sunlight. So be sure to step outside of that hotel room for an hour or two and let your body soak in those natural rays.
Your creativity thoughts will thrive
Going outside allows your mind to wander, especially when you’re enjoying a leisurely activity, like walking or gardening. This in-between space -- when you’re somewhat occupied with something but free to let your brain walk about -- is when some of the best creative ideas are born.
You’re going to get in shape doing all those outdoor activities
This one pretty much goes without saying. If you’re outside, odds are you aren’t watching TV or scrolling through Instagram. You’re being active and doing those outdoor hobbies you love: hiking, cycling, gardening, standup paddle boarding -- the list goes on. Just by leaving your house, you’re putting your body in motion.
You’ll probably live longer
If you spend more time outside, you’ll not only experience more of the world around you, but you’ll experience it for longer. Definitively. In a recent study, it was found that folks who spent more time in greenspaces lived much healthier and lengthy lives. In this group, there was a reduced incidence of stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.
Add to that better sleep, increased Vitamin D, and improved mental health, and investing in your outdoor life is key to your long-term health.
As always, if you have any questions about your plan, services, or benefits, please reach out to the Friday Care Crew at our contact page.