Top Health Benefits of Spending Time Outside
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
There’s no debating it: we are spending much less time outside than ever before. Commuting to and from work, spending 8+ hours a day in our offices, the draw of our electronics as a way to unwind… these are all contributing to Americans spending less than 10% of their life outside. In fact, a study in the UK showed that the majority of children spend less time outside than prison inmates!
It has become ‘normal’ to spend our lives indoors, a convention we must change. We evolved in nature, and the outdoors has much to offer us yet! Read on to discover the top health benefits of spending time outside.
Sunlight and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is among the most common deficiencies, which is due to our inability to get adequate vitamin D from our food and our lack of time spent in the sun. Vitamin D is a vital component of being healthy. It is a key player in protecting against arthritis, dementia, leaky gut, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases. Our bodies require at least 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun time each day. Then our bodies can convert the sunlight into vitamin D!
If you live somewhere that is lacking in sunshine, you can always supplement with a high-quality vitamin D product. Emulsi D Supreme is a concentrated bioavailable source of vitamin D, containing 2000 IU in each drop!
Fresh air does wonders for your body. It has the power to strengthen your immune system by improving the health of your white blood cells, and provides you with the oxygen necessary to kill off bad viruses, bacteria, and infections. The outdoor air improves your respiration by helping your airways dilate fully, then cleanses your lungs by expelling any toxins. Breathing in the sweet outdoors is also energizing: breathing in all that oxygen provides a major energy boost!
Grounding: Fountain of Health
Grounding, also known as earthing, is simply allowing your bare feet to touch the ground. The earth provides free-flowing electrons that your body absorbs in order to ‘charge’ itself. The health benefits associated with grounding are numerous! Grounding boosts your energy levels, reduces inflammation, lowers stress, reduces chronic pain, boosts your immune system, and improves sleep!
Natural Mood Booster
Studies conducted by Stanford show a correlation between time spent in nature and emotional wellbeing. Lower rates of depression, self-doubt, and negativity are found in those who spend time out in nature, along with higher rates of happiness!
Living life indoors is linked to anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), while time spend outside is shown to reduce both!
Do cold winters prevent you from spending time outside? They shouldn’t! Cold thermogenesis burns fat and boosts immunity. Exercising outdoors is a great idea, too. In the cold, your body can self-regulate its temperature better, meaning you can exercise longer. It also enhances endurance!
How to Spend More Time Outside
Many Americans have trouble getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and finding time to spend outside. If you are committed to living a life full of health, here are some great tips and ideas for getting in some quality time with nature:
- Bring your workout outside: Your yoga mat will be just as happy on the back porch as it would be in the living room! You can also try swapping the treadmill for a jog around the neighborhood.
- Go on a walk while listening to a podcast or calling a friend.
- Eat outside: Whether it be a full-on picnic excursion, or morning coffee on the balcony, everyone’s gotta eat!
- Find someone to pass the time with: If you have kids, there is plenty of family-friendly fun to be had outdoors. If your kids play sports, attending their games and practices will provide you with plenty of fresh air and vitamin D!
- Dogs are another great way to create accountability for yourself; they won’t let you get away with staying indoors all day!
Do you have a favorite way of spending time outdoors? Share it in the comments below!