October 30, 2021

5 Ways Being Outdoors Will Improve Your Health

Protection from sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the pool. Any time the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are able to reach the earth, you need to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure. UV rays can cause skin damage during any season or temperature.

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight savings time (9 a.m. - 3 p.m. during standard time) are usually the most hazardous for UV exposure. UV radiation is the greatest during the late spring and early summer; and UV rays reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as on bright and sunny days. UV rays will also reflect off any surface like water, cement, sand, and snow.

Having said all that, spending time outdoors contributes to your health in more ways than you can imagine. This article now shares 5 ways being outdoors improves your health.

5 ways being outdoors will improve your health

1). It Increases Vitamin D Levels

The level of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which has great disease-fighting powers, is increased in your body when you spend time outdoors especially when the sun is out. However, be sure not to overdo this sun exposure, as too much exposure to the sun’s harsh rays can be problematic to your health in the long run.

Room with sunshine streaming in

2). It Makes You Happier

Surprising right? But it has been found that exposure to light, especially natural light like the one outdoors, tends to elevate people’s mood. There’s usually more light outdoors than indoors, so it’s advisable to spend some time outdoors as often as you can. In addition, being outdoors typically increases physical activity and physical activity has been shown to help get people excited, cheer them up and even help them relax better. All these eventually result in more smiles and a healthier lifestyle, which also generally gives joy.

3). It Helps Restore Your Mental Energy

Exposing yourself to restorative environments like the great outdoors can help restore your mental energy in instances of mental fatigue. Studies have found that being outdoors gives a mental boost that rejuvenates and restores mental energy, especially after being cooked up indoors for a long time.

4). It Helps to Improve Concentration

It happens sometimes, when you’ve been indoors all day working on something and then you want to think or brainstorm about something and then step outside for some fresh air. There is no research that completely verifies this, at least not yet, but it is believed that if you have trouble concentrating, going out for some fresh air or engaging in some outdoor activity might help.

Going out for fresh air improves concentration

5). It Helps to Sharpen Thinking and Creativity

Spending time outdoors is associated with sharper thinking and creativity. Previous findings have shown that spending time outdoors, especially in natural and serene settings, can help to restore attention and memory. It can also lead to a significant boost in creative problem solving skills.

Also see this separate article, Outdoor air quality and your health.

1). Science Daily. Benefits of outdoor exercise confirmed. Available online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204130607.htm
2). NHS Choices. How to get vitamin D from sunlight. Available here: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/summerhealth/pages/vitamin-d-sunlight.aspx
3). Barton J & Pretty J (2010). What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/es903183r
4). Kelly McGonigal (PhD). Stepping Outdoors Boosts Mood, Self-Esteem. Available online: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201005/stepping-outdoors-boosts-mood-self-esteem

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