No matter how high temperatures rise, summer is an amazing time to be outdoors. Not only is it nice to finally be able to get outside without having to bundle up, but it’s invigorating to see everything come alive.
Even scientists agree that getting outside is worth your time. Research has connected fresh air and sunshine to improved mood, sleep, and overall health.
So, take a screen break, step away from those indoor chores and put a pause on everything but enjoying a little time in the sun. These specific benefits are why your body and mind will thank you for it.
1. Bring down stress levels
While spending time walking in nature can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, simply being among the trees and plants can help reduce stress. The sunshine also helps reduce the production of stress-related hormones, like cortisol, elevating your mood. So, even if you don’t have time for some physical activity, pop a squat in your backyard and take a moment to enjoy the greenery around you.
2. Return your focus
Getting up and getting outside when you just can’t keep yourself on task is a perfect reason for some fresh air. Walking in nature, even if it’s just within your neighborhood, gives your mind a break, and that break can help restore focus once you head back in and sit back down.
3. Provide essential nutrients
The sun does so much more than warm you up when the indoor AC is giving you goosebumps. That big fireball is a great source of Vitamin D, an essential nutrient when it comes to your overall health. Getting a little sun, around 15 minutes to be exact, jumpstarts your body’s production of Vitamin D, which in turn makes your body better at absorbing calcium, keeping your bones strong.
The sun can also increase your serotonin levels. This powerful hormone helps naturally stabilize mood, making you feel happier.
4. Jumpstart the healing process
The combination of natural light and fresh air may just be a healing tool when it comes to those who’ve recently had surgery or are taking medication for pain. It won’t make you miraculously recover, but this outdoor combo can put your body into a more relaxed state, decreasing your pain and giving your body the energy it needs to concentrate on healing.
5. Sleep better at night
Being out in the fresh air, whether you’re active or not, always seems to make you sleepier at night, but there are other benefits for those who struggle with sleep. Heading outdoors earlier in the day helps the body maintain its internal clock. The sunlight reminds the body that it’s daytime, and time to be awake, setting up the right rhythm to make it easier to feel sleepy as the sun sets.
6. Make exercise more enticing
People come up with a lot of excuses when it comes to exercising. They’ll say it’s too expensive to join a gym, they don’t have time, it’s boring. You can combat all these excuses with a 30-minute walk outside. Even if your kids are home for the summer, this is something the whole family can do together. A regular, outdoor walk can lead to some amazing health benefits including a decrease in anger or hostility, improved heart health, reduced stress and reduced joint pain. It’s also a great way to maintain a healthy weight.
7. Rest your eyes
It’s no secret that we all spend too much time in front of screens. From work, to checking our phones to watching TV and playing video games, there are so many reasons to stay on screens. Yet, your eyes are begging for a break. The best way to go screen-free? Head outside. Grab a pair of sunglasses and give your eyes time to relax and recover from the strain. There are no harsh lights out in the world, just greenery and blue skies to enjoy.
8. Find inspiration
Have you ever been in a situation where you need to solve a problem, but can’t? You devote so much time thinking about it without a solution working itself out. Then, you step away, get distracted doing something else, and bam! Inspiration hits and it all makes sense. This process is more common than you may think, and heading outside can help you jumpstart it. This is because a correlation exists, according to certain studies, between time in nature and improved problem-solving abilities. A quick trip outside, to walk or even garden, can stimulate those creative juices and speed up your quest to solve the most nagging of problems.
Keep the outdoors ready to enjoy
These few reasons why being outside this summer is essential are just the tip of the iceberg. Spending time outside has so many benefits for your mental and physical health, that it’s important to remember you have to do your part to take care of the environment so it’s there to enjoy summer after summer.
You can do your part by an act as simple as picking up any trash you see along the way during an outdoor walk, or by thinking bigger and purchasing products from companies who offer sustainability programs. Both require very little effort on your part, but do a lot to make the outdoors an ideal place to spend your summer free time.