Recently, I’ve realized something that will make or break my day. If I spend all day working at my computer, running around doing errands, and cleaning and cooking at home, I’m missing one important ingredient that makes all the difference—spending time in nature. Being outside is a major aspect of feeling good for me. And it’s not just me—we all need to get outside more.
Breathing in fresh air and soaking up outdoor time is beneficial for our health in so many ways. As temperatures start to drop, it can make spending time outside more challenging and less appealing. But there are so many benefits to being in the great outdoors that will motivate you to bundle up and get outside (even when it’s chilly)!
Here’s the real truth about why you need to get outside, regardless of the weather. One study says that Americans spend 87% of their time in enclosed buildings plus 6% of time in vehicles—which means we’re spending 93% of our time indoors. We’re missing out on the wonderful health and wellness benefits of outdoor time, like improved mood and an essential vitamin we get from the sun. You should aim to get outside every day, no matter the time of year.
Here are five great reasons to spend more time outdoors:
You’ll get your necessary vitamin D
These days, most of us are deficient in vitamin D, no matter how hard we may try to live a healthy life. Spending so much time inside prevents us from getting the nutrients we need from the sun. Vitamin D helps prevent chronic diseases, fights infections, and helps to regulate your immune system. The more time you spend outside, the more sunshine you’ll get. A tip for the winter: Bundle up and take a walk around the block. Even a little sun exposure is better than none.
Fresh air helps prevent infections
When we hibernate inside, the air we breathe becomes stale and stagnant—and that can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Consider taking your workouts outside in the fresh air. Some ideas for colder temps include skiing (downhill or cross-country), ice skating, snow shoeing, a walk around your neighborhood, or even sledding! All of these activities will have you working up a sweat and make it easy to forget about the cold.
You’ll increase your mental focus
Aside from the physical benefits of being in nature, there are mental and emotional benefits, too. If you’re trying to solve a problem, taking a walk outside might be the perfect answer. By switching gears and letting your mind wander, you’re more likely to come up with a solution. Movement outdoors helps creativity flow. Also, it’s been proven that nature helps us focus more when we are working. By giving our brains a chance to switch off and tune out, we will be sharper and more focused when we get back to our work.
Your mood will improve
Have you ever had a day where you feel like you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed? One of the best things you can do is get yourself outside. During winter months, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) causes feelings of anxiety and depression. Spending time outdoors, regardless of the temperature, is one of the best mood boosters according to the Mayo Clinic.
You’ll experience nature’s healing power
According to one study, soaking up natural light has been proven to lower levels of pain and stress. And it’s important throughout our entire lifetime, no matter our age. Spending time outdoors with the snow and ice, during all seasons but specifically winter, can help us stay healthy and live our best, most productive, and happiest life.