With the unbearable summer heat and the hot city life, I bet most of us dream of the ocean breeze, an ice cream cone, and a beer or two by the beach.
But being outside is much more than beaches and barbecues. According to science, spending time outdoors can actually make us healthier. Escaping to the mountains, woods, or even the local park, helps both our brain and body.
Most of us believe that spending time outdoors is good for us. We all know that clean air improves out respiratory systems, and the sun generates vitamin D in our body. But now, many scientific studies prove how much spending time in nature is essential to our psychological and physical health, and our overall well-being.
Analyzing the benefits of the great outdoors is nothing new. In the 1970s at the University of Michigan, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan researched the effects of natural settings in alleviating mental weakness. As a result, they proved that nature has the ability to encourage our brain to calm down. Recently, at Chiba University in Tokyo, a physiological anthropologist, Yoshifumi Miyazaki, introduced the concept of “Forest Therapy”. It asserts that our mind and body work best in nature because we as humans evolved in it. Miyazaki says that preserving and nurturing the natural environment is not only good for the planet, but it’s essential to our health and happiness.
If you still have your doubts, here are few reasons why you should take a longer walk in the park, hike in the mountains, or go for a camping trip.
1. Energy boost
Do you crave for another cup of coffee? How about skipping the caffeine and go outside instead? One study suggests that spending 30 minutes in the open air will give your brain an energy boost equivalent to one cup of coffee. So, instead of drinking coffee on your lunch break, go and have your meal in the park. Therefore, a more productive rest of the day is guaranteed.
2. Better vision
According to one research study, elementary school students who spend more time in nature are less likely to have nearsightedness. So go out for a hike, some fresh air, and improve your eyesight.
3. Better physical exercise
Do you feel like it’s easier to exercise outside? Well, that’s probably thanks to the verdant surroundings. In one study, researchers placed a number of cyclists in front of red, gray and green video footage to pedal. The cyclists who pedaled in front of the green reported that they felt more positive moods and less physical exertion. That means that trees, plants, and grass might add some psychological energy boost to our workout.
4. Ease the pain
One study tested on several surgery patients by exposing half of them to high-intensity sunlight. They reported less stress and less pain. As a result, they took drastically fewer pain medications.
5. Free aromatherapy
Many scientists suggest that you should really stop and smell the flowers. Why? Well, research shows that natural fragrances like freshly cut grass, roses, pine, and tulips make you more calm and relaxed.
6. Boost your immune system
According to many scientists, breathing in phytoncides helps us fight off diseases and infections. Phytoncides are airborne chemicals produced in plants that increase the levels of white blood cells in our body.
7. Fight against seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a reoccurring condition marked by symptoms of exhaustion, low mood, and anxiety. It usually triggers in winter with shorter days or lower light levels. According to doctors, spending time outside can reduce the severity of SAD, even if the weather is cold or cloudy.
8. Creativity boost
According to psychologists, backpackers get 50 percent higher scores on creativity tests after spending few days in nature without electronics. So, if you struggle with writer’s block, ditch your laptop and spend some quality time in the great outdoors.
9. Rebuild your focus
If you cannot concentrate at work, it’s time to leave the office and take a break in the nearby park. Some studies show that just walking in nature will help us restore our focus.
10. Daily dose of vitamin D
It’s essential to get the right dose of vitamin D if we want to have a well-functioning body. Among other things, it helps us absorb calcium, reduces inflammation, and prevents osteoporosis. Although it’s present in a few foods, like milk or salmon, the best way to absorb it is from the sun. A human body gets around 90 percent of vitamin D from casual exposure to sunlight.
11. Be a better person
Psychologists believe that the exposure to nature helps us fight with societal pressures and situations. As a result, we’re more likely to value and remember the more important things in life, like sharing, community, and relationships.
So, not is only being outdoors fun, but it’s even good for our body, soul, and brain. Turns out being outside can offer us a benefit for everything, from a creativity boost to serious health issues. So pack your stuff and go out to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. Since all of the above is confirmed by scientists, who are we to question them?
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.