5 Amazing Reasons to Prioritize Time Outside
by Carollyn Mushro
In today’s modern society, it seems as if we are spending more and more time indoors. We spend hours commuting, at the office, all to come home and zone out to the television. Research shows that the average American spends 93% of their existence indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air quality can be poorly ventilated, and indoor pollutants are typically 2-5 times higher than indoor concentrations and are a potential cause of respiratory disease, heart disease and even cancer.
However, the human body is quite literally designed to be spent in nature. Intuitively, we know this. We feel invigorated the moment the sun hits our face and the fresh air hits our lungs when we step outside. Time spent outdoors is crucial to our mental and physical well-being. The fact that we are feeling tense, stressed and a little depressed at times, is the lack of outdoor activity.
Here’s why we need to prioritize time outside:
- Get your daily dose of vitamin D. Natural sunlight is the best and most abundant source of the hormone Vitamin D. It can help prevent dementia, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Even 15 minutes of sun on the skin has been shown to have benefits.
- Better sleep. It sounds incredibly simple, but sleep is more crucial to our well-being than our modern culture gives it credit for. Getting outside and exposing ourselves to natural light allows us to be in tune with our circadian rhythm, which restores sleep patterns.
- Give your immune system a boost. Part of the reason that we enjoy fresh air so much is because of the natural essential oils present in the atmosphere. Chemicals released by plants– called phytoncides– serve to increase our white blood cells which are necessary for the battle against disease and infections. These natural chemicals and aromas will improve mood and your immunity better than anything made in a lab.
- Reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that a lack of outdoor activities in today’s modern lifestyle is a major contributing factor to an increase in these conditions. With an incessant stream of smart phones, advertising, traffic, and overscheduled lifestyles, going outside is just the break that our brains need. Spending just 20-30 minutes each day in nature has been proven to ease cortisol levels.
- Increased focus. Spending time in nature has been shown to increase focus and creativity. When time outdoors is combined with physical activity this benefit is increased exponentially. Nothing clears the mind better than a walk in nature to clear the brain of clutter and make room for some creative inspiration.
Scheduling time outside is not only excellent for our mental and physical health, but it also can make us a happier person to be around, to the benefit of our office mates and family members. Grab a friend to enjoy the great outdoors with and share the love with someone in your life!
About the Contributor
Carollyn is a wellness enthusiast living in the Chicago burbs with her husband and two children. She loves inspiring families to find their own healthy journey through holistic modalities. She loves kombucha, travel, and questioning the status quo.
You can find her on IG: @carollyn.mushro