I never realized how much I needed and craved the mountains and the fresh air until I lived in urban Indonesia for a few months.
I remember that moment when I finally got back into the mountains and away from the noise and pollution that I realized how much my mental, physical, and emotional health depended on that quiet time with nature.
It turns out I wasn’t just feeling sentimental. Research shows that how much time we spend indoors vs. outdoors can make a significant difference in our overall wellbeing.
Advantages of Spending Time Outside
Did you know the average American spends 93% of their time indoors? That includes time sleeping, eating, relaxing, working, and driving.
If you feel like that describes you, considering some of the following ways that reducing that number can help your overall health and wellbeing.
It Increases Our Joy
Research shows that spending time in nature reduces depression and anxiety. The calm, the quiet, the fresh air, and the overall peace you experience by the ocean, in a park, or atop a mountain promotes a positive shift in your overall mood.
You’ll Experience Stress Relief
As your level of happiness increases, your stress level will automatically decrease. Science shows that blood pressure and heart rate automatically slow when in a natural setting. Chronic stress leads to all kinds of health problems, so spending a little time outside each day can do wonders for your health.
It Improves Your Brain Function
People who spend more time outdoors find it easier to concentrate, be more creative, and have better short-term memory.
You’ll Be More Energetic
Do you ever feel like you could just curl up under your desk and talk a nap? Try going for a quick walk in the sun instead! 90% of people who spent a few minutes outdoors had more energy afterward.
It Reduces Inflammation
Stress, inflammation, a sedentary lifestyle...they all go hand-in-hand. In one study, participants who spent more time in nature had lower inflammation levels than the participants who spent the majority of their time in the city.
You’re Vitamin D Levels Will Be Higher
It’s estimated that between 50 and 75% of American’s are vitamin D deficient. Even though we get vitamin D from food and supplements as well, it’s definitely an extra bonus to spending time outdoors.
It Strengthens Your Immune System
Spending time in the garden, the forest, or even the park can boost your immune system. Scientists find that plants give off phytoncides (I like to think of these as plant pheromones). As we breathe these airborne chemicals in, our white blood cell count increases and helps us fight off infections and diseases.
How to Spend More Time in Nature
Unless you have the luxury of living in a rural area, it might take some creativity to spend more time outdoors. Here are a few tips you can follow even if you live in an urban area.
If you work from home, create an outdoor office and use it when weather permits
Sit on your deck, balcony, porch, or in the backyard to read a book
Walk outside to read your mail or make phone calls
Take a short walk every morning (I like to walk to the mailbox or change sprinklers in the yard in between projects.)
Enjoy your first cup of coffee or dinner outside
Find a hobby you can do outside (your daily workout, photography, hiking, frisbee golf [we’re really into this right now!], biking, or swimming)
Start a garden! Even if it’s only in a few pots. It will force you outside every day to water, pull weeds, and harvest.
Walk your dog or someone else’s!
Take your lunch break outside.
Plan an outing each weekend if you don’t have time for hiking, biking, or other activities midweek.
What Are You Waiting For?!
You know the statistics. You understand the benefits. You tell your patients and clients every appointment that they need to get more fresh air and exercise. So what are you waiting for? Practice what you preach and get out there. And feel free to share these points with clients, colleagues, and friends. We can all use reminders.
If you want to include topics like this one in your own blog, let me know! I’m happy to help you plan and write content that will connect, educate, and convert. If you’re not sure where to start, send me a message! We’ll set up a little coffee chat and make a plan together.