Get Outdoors to Improve Health

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Great Outdoors

Benefit from celebrating Great Outdoors Month

Has this quarantine made you into a self-professed homebody? If so, you could benefit from celebrating Great Outdoors Month this June. Spending time outdoors – especially doing aerobic activities, like cycling and jogging – can improve your physical and mental health, making all of us happier humans! “Nature itself is the best physician,” said Hippocrates, and we do not disagree! 

The health benefits of the great outdoors are fabulous!

Vitamin D makes you happy. Nearly 40% of U.S. women and men are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to serious health issues, including cancer, depression, and osteoporosis. 

Plan to elevate your levels of vitamin D during mid-day when UVB levels are at their peak. Spending time outdoors later in the day has been linked to skin cancer. 

Inflammation-buster. Inflammation is responsible for all sorts of health problems, including depression, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Spending time in green-spaces is known to reduce inflammation in all age ranges. 

Better for your eyes. Myopia, nearsightedness is becoming quite popular in China and the United States. However, recent studies from Scope 10K published by Stanford Medicine show spending free time can be useful for your eyes later in life. Dr. Yang suggests, “it probably has something to do with the lighting being much brighter. When outside, your eyes have more opportunity to focus on things in the distance.” Chop on some carrots and head outdoors for better vision. 

Trouble sleeping? Researchers at Stanford Medicine say that spending more time outdoors will link to better night sleep. The elevated amount of time spent outside helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which involves body temperature regulation and the sleep-wake cycle.

Feel the burn.  The body burns more calories outdoors because it’s working hard to balance CO2 levels while consuming oxygen, which requires an abundant amount of energy, causing an increase in calorie burn. Jogging, cycling, and other outdoor workouts are specifically effective because the body needs to adapt to change in terrain. 

Increase happiness by relieving stress and anxiety.  Getting green-time will leave a lasting positive effect on your mood. Nature will eliminate stress, anxiety, and depression by zapping ruminating thoughts. SharpBrains magazine has a great article discussing the benefits people experienced walking through wooded areas. They were found to be much happier and decreased levels of anxiety. City slickers should consider making a drive out of town for some positive vibes. 

Immune system boost. Are you feeling sick? Not only will Mother nature help you create a relaxed state of mind resulting in a healthier immune system, but all you find in it helps promote overall health. Plants contribute phytoncides, a white blood cell known to increase natural killer cells while the sun improves infection-fighting T cells during long exposure lengths. 

Get social. Get off your phone and head outside to connect with your pals. Hanging with your friends for a bit of social interaction will boost your mood and give you a feeling of well-being. You can ride up the trails, do yoga in the meadow or clean up a park! 

Scientists suggest that getting 120 minutes in nature each day will contribute to better overall well-being and is optimal for your health. You do not need to spend these two hours right consecutively or divide them up evenly. You can split up the 120 minutes as you please (which is excellent for those with busy schedules or those not so close to nature). Choose to explore outdoors when you can to reap the benefits that the great outdoors has to offer. 

Looking for a park near you? Click here! Happy Trails!

Stay safe, stay hydrated!