Why you should be spending more time outdoors

March 30, 2021

As the world continues to improve in a technological manner, it’s easy for us as citizens of Earth to get caught up in new advancements and stop paying attention to the beautiful world we have around us. It is important to remind ourselves every once in a while that not everything that is important is on the screens we bury our noses into. Every once in a while we should take a break from the drama we see on the Internet and enjoy the world that surrounds us.

It is easy to get absorbed into technology these days. With a pandemic taking over our lives, us humans tend to focus on the news and what’s coming next. Every once in a while, it’s beneficial to take a break and step outside for a few minutes to enjoy the great outdoors. Studies prove that even sitting in the sun for a few hours, catching rays, or going on walks can improve one’s physical and mental health.

But, why exactly are the outdoors beneficial to us?

Being outside has shown an increase in one’s overall physical health. One study showed adults who hiked twice a day for three days increased their white blood cell count by 40%. White blood cells are a major factor in our immune system. These cells are responsible for fighting off infections and help keep us healthy and safe from sicknesses. Spending more time outside can increase our immune system’s ability to battle viruses and overall improve our health.

Sunlight helps decrease physical discomfort levels. A study was done where doctors exposed surgery patients to high intensity sunlight. This resulted in the patients feeling less stress and aches, and took less painkillers. When sitting in the sun, our body produces more vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes muscle health and growth as well as helps with calcium absorption, which is important in healthy bones. Because of this increase in vitamin D, it is easier for our body to alleviate discomfort.

Nature and mental health

As one spends more time outside, energy levels tend to rise. A study shows that spending even as much as 20 minutes outdoors is the equivalent to the energy boost of one cup of coffee.

Richard Ryan, lead author and professor at Rochester University, says, “nature is fuel for the soul.”

Being outdoors helps to improve one’s mood. Although researchers don’t know exactly why spending more time outside lifts our spirits, humans tend to feel happier in the great outdoors. Whenever you’re feeling down, some extra vitamin D never fails to help you feel better. Go for a walk around your neighborhood or on a nature trail in the woods, the outdoors will heal your stresses and worries.

Jill’s experience

An elderly woman named Jill spends time outdoors in a volunteer group at a TVC Green Gym in Regent’s Park. She shares in a video by, Mind, the mental health charity, that she came down with cancer and to help herself feel better she often found herself spending more time outdoors, which led to a faster road to recovery.

“It helped me to really get back into the normal routine of life again,” Jill explains how the Green Gym helped her overcome cancer and get back on her feet.

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