Hanging Outdoors: How It Helps Your Body

By Marie Clark

As a Kinesiology major, my brain sometimes gets stuck in the mode of how something impacts people physiologically. However, I have never thought too much about what being outside in nature does for your wellbeing. So, to start off the school year, I decided to take a scientific approach to why you should hang outdoors more often.

 

Undoubtedly, when you take a step outdoors and disengage from the concrete rooms we spend most of our time in, weather is mainly what you see. If you choose to even disengage from your phone and just listen to the way nature “coos” every few seconds, you get the easiest pull away from the stresses that occur within four walls.

 

So, what does being outdoors actually do for your health?

1. Disengages you from electronics (if you choose to be)

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the flow of emails and texts and notifications you have with our phones and computers. Nature has a way of forcing you to disconnect and not spend time looking at a screen. It’s a good way to relax and recharge our body and mind. Also, seeing green has been shown to be associated with less mood disturbances. Bring your exercise outdoors- it might feel a bit easier.

2. Gets your blood pumping and lungs replenished

When sitting inside all day, we get a lot of air that is taken in from the outdoors and recycled through a very stagnant system of cooling. The chance to get outdoors exposes you to fresh air that simply can’t be beaten. No toxic chemicals, no smells that could be harmful. Try to get about 10 to 15 minutes each day or more with the use of sunscreen.

3. Vitamin D you can see and feel

Our immune system needs enough vitamin D to function optimally. This vitamin helps to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer disease because it is needed for bone growth, cell regeneration, inflammation reduction, and neuromuscular function. The natural source of this vitamin is the best way to get it.

4. Retrains your eyes

Your pupils contract, in a way like muscles, when being forced to look at various distances. Our average lifestyles have us look at things directly in front of us, like a computer or traffic. But simply walking around outdoors, your eyes have a chance to wander and explore the landscape and surrounding ground.

5. Get your senses working

Getting a chance to listen to birds, smell the buds, feel the loud wind, and embrace the heat of the sun. When you put the focus on what is going on around you, you are present, yet, only aware of your surroundings.You are not worrying about all else in the world. It’s important to have that calm from the chaos.

6. Being outdoors has a way of bringing people together

When you engage in the new environment, like a park, mountain, or maybe a body of water, you make this greater connection with the earth and the way things flow in a homeostatic state always. When you bring others with you on this adventure, you make new connections with people that tend to bring you closer than when stuck indoors at work. Play is important and playing outside is a great way to do it.

7. Nature helps in brain functioning

Studies have shown that outdoor hours may in increase concentration skills when compared to playing indoors. Those who spend time in outdoor and green spaces reported fewer symptoms that inhibit concentration, especially within kids with ADHD who the study was done on. It isn’t a surprise that taking a walk leads to increased creativity. Walking anywhere shows that this is true, but particularly walking outdoors led researchers to the finding that it influences novelty as well.  Some also say that a 20 minute walk outside to wake you up is just as good as a one cup of coffee can.

 

Get outside today and reap the benefits nature has available for your mind and your body.

 

John Muir always had a way with words and he says it right with this quote:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”


List of References

http://physicalliving.com/nature-deficit-disorder-the-top-10-reasons-to-go-outside/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710158/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/22/how-the-outdoors-make-you_n_5508964.html

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/01/call-to-wild/

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