Ways That Spending Time Outdoors Actually Makes You Healthier
Most people devote a large amount of time to work, chores, taking care of their kids, being on social media and a bunch of other everyday obligations. Statistics show that we spend on average about 90 per cent of our time during a single day indoors, and those numbers don't lie! Six decades ago, such list of activities would have been unheard of! Outside your bedroom window, is a vast place called the outdoors. Aside of serving as a landscape from the windows of your car while you're driving to work, it can be used to go jogging, hiking (if you live in a more natural environment), riding a bike, street work out and such – you know, healthy stuff. However, even simply spending time there can be quite beneficial. Hear me out.
Indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution
Exactly. No matter how clean your house is, many studies have proven that the concentration of pollutants indoors is a hundred times stronger than indoors. How? First of all, when we are indoors, we are exposed to things such as carbon monoxide that exits our cooking appliances, fireplaces etc., VOCs, flame retardants and even formaldehyde. Oh, and let’s not forget about dirt, dust, mould and pet dander as well.
Spending too much time indoors results in symptoms such as breathing problems, burning eyes, scratchy throat, brain fog, headaches etc.
Your stress levels will go down
You have probably already experienced how that quick walk helped you feel better after a, let’s say, stressful workday, right? Add a couple of trees to the equation and boom – you have reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol that result in decreased anxiety and stress levels. Also, spending time in nature generally reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
Your eyes will benefit as well
It is known that all those long hours spent in front of a computer screen are not really a “sight for sore eyes”. A number of studies have linked time spent indoors with myopia – or nearsightedness. No matter how dangerous those UV rays may (or may not) be, spending time under the sun is our prime need. Also, the more time you spend in front of a screen, the more likely you are to suffer from dry eye syndrome. And by letting your eyes focus on something more distant, you are providing different muscles with much-needed exercise, which will allow your eyes to recover and relax.
Sun is the only source of vitamin D we have. And low levels of this vitamin increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, depression, fractures etc. In other words, you should try getting at least 15 minutes of direct sun exposure daily.
It helps you sleep
The quality of your sleep has a lot to do with hormones such as melatonin, as well as your own natural circadian rhythm. And both of these are affected by light exposure, especially sunlight. If you spend too much time indoors, you are isolating your body from its source of the most important natural rhythms, and your sleep is the thing that suffers the most.
You’ll get moving
When we are outside, naturally, we move a lot more. It simply comes with the territory. People who run or drive a bike or one of those cool electric bikes tend to have a lot more energy and burn calories a lot easier than those who are all about stationary bikes or treadmills. Also, people generally enjoy working out outside, and therefore, they are burning a lot more calories.
You will feel happier
Since spending time outside benefits your mental wellbeing, it naturally boosts your serotonin levels. Why? Because we are natures creatures and it is where we truly biologically belong. Spending time outside is our non-pharmacological approach to many serious conditions, including even depression.
So, what are you waiting for? Get up and take a walk at least around the block. Your body, as well as your mind, will thank you!