BENEFITS OF GETTING OUTDOORS
If you’re a self-professed homebody, you could seriously benefit from a change of scenery. Spending time in nature could improve your physical and mental health, ward off illness, and actually make you happier!
As the Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, once said, “Nature itself is the best physician.” If you’re curious about the health benefits you can reap from being outside, read on! Below, we cover 13 reasons to soak up everything nature has to offer. Read on for the best benefits of getting outdoors.
1. BEING IN NATURE BOOSTS LIFE SATISFACTION
If you’ve been feeling blue, visit somewhere green! A recent study found that men and women who spent just 20 minutes in a park setting reported a 64% hike in life satisfaction. (hike- HA, see what we did there?)
The best news? Participants’ satisfaction levels had nothing to do with physical activity! Simply visiting the park boosted well-being. Of course, movement adds a plethora of additional health benefits.
2. SOAKING UP THE SUN ELEVATES VITAMIN D LEVELS
Regular sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D. An estimated 40% of U.S. men and women are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to some pretty scary health implications, including depression, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Penciling in your time outside around midday is ideal, especially if you’re short on time, as UVB rays reach their peak around noon. Exposure later in the day has been linked to skin cancer.
3. SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS MAY LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Sunlight does so much more than boost vitamin D levels… It can actually lower your blood pressure! Researchers report that the nitric oxide present in the skin responds to the sun’s rays by widening blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure.
Although study participants whose blood pressure was in the normal range noticed a minimal drop, it’s believed that folks with high blood pressure would likely experience a more significant change.
4. OUTDOOR TIME CAN REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Inflammation has been linked to a host of health problems, from autoimmune disorders to depression and even cancer. Various studies have shown that spending time in green spaces reduces inflammation.
Men and women of all ages can benefit from this natural inflammation-buster. From healthy, college-aged males to elderly patients, there was a marked difference in inflammation among individuals who spent time in the forest.
5. BEING OUTSIDE IS GOOD FOR EYESIGHT
Surprisingly, spending time outdoors in childhood could lead to better vision later in life. A recent Canadian study found that spending time in nature greatly reduces the risk of myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness.
Believe it or not, one-third of U.S. adults experience myopia, and one key contributor is a lack of outdoor time in childhood. If you have children, encourage them to spend time outdoors daily to preserve their vision later on. It’s easier than getting them to eat carrots right?
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