5 Great Reasons Why You Should Get Outside
1. Vitamin D “ The Sunshine Vitamin ”
Unlike most vitamins that can easily be found in food, Vitamin D is best found outdoors. Vitamin D is made when bare skin is exposed to sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet rays convert cholesterol in your skin into Vitamin D. Studies suggest that the average person needs between 15 and 20 minutes depending on skin tone of direct sun expose to produce the recommended amount of Vitamin D.
So why is this vitamin so important? Well, Vitamin D helps develop strong bones and teeth in kids and helps prevent osteoporosis in adults and the elderly. Vitamin D also helps regulate cell function which protects against several types of cancer. Studies also suggests Vitamin D may play a role in the prevention of diabetes. With this kind of stats it is easy to see why Vitamin D tops our list for great reason to be outdoors.
2. Dirt !
Now many of us have heard the old saying “ Just rub a little dirt on it”. Well as it turns out, dirt really can be good for you. New research on soil suggests that exposure to the bacteria and microbes in dirt can help boost our immune systems. Exposing ourselves to small amounts of bacteria and microbes found in soil triggers a positive immune response and helps protect us against more dangerous bacteria in the future.
Adults and children who regularly come into contact with dirt, pollen and animals are healthier overall and have less allergies. So the next time you think about getting your hands dirty, just know it’s a good thing!
3. Stress Relief – Something We all Need
Studies show that people who take a 20 minute walk in the woods or on a garden path feel more relaxed than those who take the same stroll on a city street. Even more interesting is the fact that people who simply live in natural areas and spend time outdoors have lower levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.
Spending time outdoors can also help improve concentration and reduce anxiety and is being used more and more as a natural option to treat ADHD in kids. Psychologist sometimes incorporate nature walks as part of a treatment regimen for people suffering from depression. Exactly why it helps is unclear. However researchers think that it allows the mind to refocus on things like the sound of water and the wind blowing in the trees. In essence it feels all of our six senses with nature and allows the person to relax and reset. How awesome is that!
Mother nature is the perfect companion for getting your sweat on. Hiking, biking and swimming are just a few ways that being outdoors can help us stay in shape. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins. These endorphins trigger positive feelings and interact with our brain receptors to reduce the feeling of pain.
Getting regular exercise can help prevent many chronic illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day elevates energy levels and improves sleep quality. Add that to the fact that outdoor exercise is cheap when compared to a gym membership and I’d say you have a perfect match.
The great outdoors is second to none in beauty, so it’s no surprise that artists like Claude Monet and Andy Goldsworthy channel inspiration from it.
A study done by the University of Utah found that people scored 50% higher on creativity tests after spending time in nature. In fact creatively, focus, productivity and energy all get a boost from being in nature. There is a measurable ability of the natural world to filter into and inspire our lives. So, the next time you feel a little overwhelmed before you reach for that energy drink try a quick walk in the great outdoors instead.