When we think of the components of being healthy, we often picture nutritious foods, exercise and getting a lot of sleep. It’s not our first instinct to envision the outdoors as a key player in our health, but spending time outside can have some profound health effects.
Aside from nature’s beauty and the exercise that is often associated with outdoor activity, getting some fresh air and spending some time in natural light can have positive benefits, ranging from your improving your physical health to boosting your mood and your energy levels.
Even if you don’t live in the midst of a lush forest, going outside for even as little as five minutes a day can help you feel healthier and happier overall.
If you’re looking to improve your wellbeing by just stepping out the front door, consider these six reasons to spend more time outdoors, according to science.
1. It Can Help You Destress
Whether you’re overloaded with work or can’t get a stressful situation off your mind, simply going outside can lower cortisol levels and reduce your anxiety.
According to the journal Environmental Science & Technology, it only takes five minutes to experience the relaxing effects of nature.
2. It Can Give You Energy
Going outside is a great way to fight the afternoon slump or beat fatigue. Studies show that spending time outdoors improves people’s vitality, likely because of the invigorating effects of fresh air and sunlight.
3. It Can Make Working Out Easier
Motivating yourself to workout is sometimes the hardest part, but being outdoors can help that. Research shows that people who workout outside are more likely to stick to a future routine than those who workout at the gym.
4. It Can Improve Focus
Going outside can have some impactful results on your brainpower. Research has found that kids who spend time in green outdoor areas report fewer symptoms of Attention-Deficit Disorder. Other studies show that spending time outside can improve creative thinking.
5. It Can Improve Your Sleep
Findings published in the journal, Preventative Medicine, show that increasing your time spent outdoors can improve quality of sleep. In addition to increasing physical activity, going outside increases your exposure to light, which can help regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythms.
6. It Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Studies in Japan found that people who spent more time in the forests had lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and a lower pulse than people who spent more time indoors or in the city areas. But just being exposed to sunlight alone can help lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.