Anyone who spends enough time outside knows there’s a reason it’s called “the great outdoors”: taking opportunities to get away from your daily life and bask in the beauty of nature can be genuinely life-changing.
It also offers many health benefits. While you probably already know that hiking, biking, walking, and participating in any other outdoor activities help you stay fit, you might not appreciate the many other ways spending time outside supports your wellness. To better understand why you should make a point of getting back in touch with nature whenever possible, consider these key facts:
Green Spaces Boost Mental Health
Life can get stressful from time to time. When you’re stuck in an office all day, completing all the same daily tasks, it’s easy to start feeling run down.
Luckily, feeling better might be as easy as stepping outside for a few moments. Research has consistently shown that spending time in green spaces is very good for your mental health. Best of all, those spaces don’t need to come in the form of vast forests, where you’re isolated from society. While spending time out in the woods certainly isn’t a bad idea, when you don’t have the chance to get away from the world for more than a few minutes, studies indicate that even a small city park can be green enough to deliver mood-boosting (and stress-busting) results.
The Outdoors Provide Vitamin D
Spending time outdoors exposes you to sunlight, and sunlight provides natural vitamin D (although you should always protect your skin with sunscreen if you’re going to be spending long periods of time outdoors). This boosts your health in many ways. Vitamin D keeps your bones strong, supports the immune system, improves cardiovascular health, and can even help diabetics manage insulin levels. Taking advantage of these major benefits simply involves getting out in the sun more often!
Studies Show the Outdoors Prevent Illnesses
If you need further reason to believe spending more time outdoors is good for your health, the results of a recent comprehensive report should convince you.
After collecting evidence from greater than 140 studies, with upwards of 290 participants in total, researchers have discovered that people who have access to green spaces are less likely than others to experience heart disease, chronic stress, high blood pressure, and even preterm birth, among other conditions.
The researchers concluded there are quite a few reasons getting outside guards against illness. First of all, people who spend time outdoors have plenty of opportunities to socialize, which is important for your general wellness. You’re simply more likely to talk with others in a park than in your home.
On top of that, studies have also shown that trees in some areas release organic compounds with natural antibacterial properties. That said, exposing yourself to the different types of bacteria present in outdoor environments also supports a healthy immune system and may guard against inflammation.
These are all points worth keeping in mind. That said, you don’t need to read studies to appreciate why being outdoors is good for you. Simply going outside more often will help you realize why people who do so tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive in their daily lives.