It’s no secret that people are spending more and more time these days indoors.
Just think about your daily routine. How much of it do you spend at your desk… in your car… on the couch?
Probably a lot, if you’re like most people.
But is all this time spent inside actually good for us?
Here’s what getting outdoors can do for you:
It improves your mood.
If you’ve ever been in a terrible mood and decided to go for a walk instead of wallow in your sadness or anger, you probably remember how your misery let up a little after even just five to ten minutes outdoors.
This happens to me with such consistency that I almost always can tell if I’m getting a little crabby, I’ve been inside too long.
It may sound like pure coincidence, but it really helps.
According to a Harvard study (and many others like it), one of the reasons getting outside can have such a positive effect on your state of mind is that light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in—even on the darkest of winter days.
What’s more, physical activity has been shown to help people relax and cheer up, so if being outside gets you exercising (even if it’s just a walk), then your mood will lift as a result.
It makes you more creative.
It’s common advice: any time you’re stuck on a problem, you should get outside and take a walk.
And it really works. There’s just something about the combination of fresh air and exercise that helps break through almost any creative block.
Whenever I don’t know what to write about, I just take my dog for a stroll and I instantly go from having nothing to say to my mind buzzing with dozens of writing ideas.
I end up writing many of my articles on my iPhone as I walk (I get a lot of funny looks, but who cares, right?).
It sounds crazy, but it works.
It gets you vitamin d.
The second the sun hits your skin, a process begins that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D.
This is a good thing for a lot of reasons.
Not only does vitamin D fight Seasonal Defective Disorder (SAD), which sucks, it also helps fight certain conditions—from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks.
Of course, you can also take vitamin d supplements (which I recommend, depending on what part of the world you live in), but natural is always best.
And I probably don’t need to tell you this, but too much of a good thing can actually be harmful—so if you spend a lot of time in the sun, always use sun screen! You don’t want to put yourself at risk for skin cancer.
It might help you heal faster.
Whether you’re suffering from depression or a broken leg, getting outside on a consistant basis may help you heal faster.
A 2005 University of Pittsburgh study showed that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light, and the researchers speculated that actually getting outside would increase the healing process even more.
Plus, the fresh air can help your immune system, which, if you’re experiencing an injury, or are even fighting a cold, is always a good thing.
So what are you waiting for? Go get some fresh air and get outside right now!