The effects of getting outside, along with other forms of exercise, is easy to underestimate. You may not want to deal with bugs, heat, cold, rain, or sun. However, your body needs to get outside and your bones need some natural light. Once you’re out there, you’ll feel so much better. Did you know being outdoors affects your health?
Here are some ways being outdoors can make you be healthier.
Exercise Your Body
A walk across a parking lot is a form of exercise, so take advantage of it when you can. However, you can cover the same distance on a hiking trail and engage many more muscles.
Why? Walking across the uneven ground will force you to engage your core to maintain your balance and intensify your workout.
While you’re on your hike, you may notice that your other troubles fall away. This is because
- your brain is enjoying all the sights around you
- your feet are carefully checking out the next space of safe footings, and
- your body is working hard to take in the oxygen it needs to keep going.
If you’re new to outdoor hiking, don’t take a pack. Get comfortable walking in good shoes, wear a hat if you’re sensitive to the sun, and bring your phone just in case. Pick the easiest trails and get moving because being outdoors affects your health.
Boost Your Immune System
Time in the sun boosts your Vitamin D absorption. Did you also know that sun exposure strengthens your T-cell response? Your body needs fresh air and sunshine. It will help you shake off stress, work and stretch your muscles, fight any diseases that try to get into your body, and strengthen your bones.
Calm Your Mind
When you’re stuck inside, you may find it almost impossible to focus on something soothing. Your sink may be full of dishes, the baskets full of laundry, or your desk in-box loaded with work.
However, with a short trip into the open air, you’ll find that your problems are pretty small in the grand scheme of things.
Standing under a big open sky, hearing the wind in the trees or watching water lap against the shore reminds us all that the great outdoors has a pulse all her own.
Breakaway from all of the “should” going on in your office and your home. Go sit under a tree and just listen to the breeze.
If you can get away from the city for an extended period of time, consider packing a tent and going camping. If you’re not interested in really roughing it, there are likely many places locally or in your state that you should visit that will offer comfort and access to nature.
For example, if you live in Pennsylvania, you can do an online search for “glamping in Pennsylvania” to find a wide variety of places to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing modern commodities.
The nice thing about glamping as opposed to staying in a hotel is that you’ll likely be out of the city at your glamping site. Yes, you can go into town if you want to, but the town won’t be the easy choice.
Sometimes, the finest vacation time you can spend is the time you get to be unscheduled. Pack in food for a long weekend, go for a hike, clean up, take a nap, eat something yummy, and repeat.
Get Better Sleep
Getting outside for a hike on any trail will get your whole body moving. It will increase your respiration, help you breathe more deeply, and may even lower your blood pressure.
However, the best part about a good outdoor workout is what happens when you lay down to sleep that evening. There is no simpler or lovelier pleasure than putting a clean, tired body down for deep sleep at the end of a long day. Let Mother Nature tire you out.
Pain & Inflammation Reduction
Current research indicates that those who suffer chronic pain have a lessening of symptoms if they spend time outside every day. In addition, many recovering from surgery have a quicker recovery period with less pain when they block out time for nature every day.
It’s All Genetic
It’s important to note that humans were nomads for much of our genetic history. Yes, it’s very nice to be inside when the rain pounds down or the snow piles up. However, we didn’t evolve to hang out on carpet, wrapped in sheetrock and electric lights.
We belong under the sun and the stars. When you can get outside, do so.
Hit a local park for an afternoon. Pack in a picnic if you want. Take your dog and enjoy a lap around the park, or visit a dog park and play a little tag with your dog.
Do whatever it takes to get your body out of the climate-controlled boxes that we live and work in. Tap into the power of nature now you are aware that being outdoors affects your health!
You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.
Becca is a java junkie. She enjoys dancing with her husband and has a knack for finding the next big indie board game. You can always find her in her nook and glamping in Pennsylvania.