After what seems like a lifetime of being cooped up inside our homes, the outdoors has become a welcomed respite. As the Founder of Outdoormagnet, Jules Tan says, for those who are working from home during this pandemic, it is necessary to get out of the house once a while (if this is allowed in your area).
Being out in nature can help shift the focus from work and recover from mental exhaustion. And when you are back home, you find that you will be able to concentrate better, or find better solutions at work.
Aside from this, of course, there are numerous other mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual benefits of spending time outdoors.
Here are some of the most noteworthy ones:
As a mountain and kayak guide I am of course a big believer in the importance of spending time outdoors, says Kevin Rosenberg, Owner and Lead Guide at International Adventure Guides. While you of course note the obvious benefits of Vitamin D and fresh air I think the more important benefit is on the mental/spiritual side. As humans, we are connected to the environment and it’s in our genes to want to renew that connection as often as possible.
It’s not a hobby or an activity, reconnecting with the wilderness is something our bodies innately require. When we’re unable to spend time outdoors we’re simply unhappy and feel less energetic which is why we find ways to connect to the wilderness, even if that means a simple visit to a patch of green in a city park. There’s an explorer within all of us that needs to be awoken!
There's something just inherently motivating about getting outside and feeling the weight of the air against your skin, notes ACE Personal Trainer at Fit Healthy Momma, Tami Smith. Regardless of the weather, stepping outside can completely change your mindset. Outdoor walks are the perfect way to break up your day, reconnect to yourself, enjoy nature, and practice gratitude.
Physically, you're improving your cardiovascular health, and mentally, you're clearing the clutter in your head, and giving yourself the opportunity to be intentional about what you replace it with. It's a chance to re-align with your vision, goals, and purpose.
Tal Shelef, Realtor and Co-Founder at CondoWizard says that as we experience a life-changing pandemic, it became obvious how staying indoors for too long has a negative impact on our entire immune system. Stuck in the house, less to no activity at all in a day, and zero exposure to nature causes our immune system to drop and have no strength to fight viruses and diseases.
Time spent outdoors is time spent to strengthen our body's natural germ-fighting power, absorb the needed air from outside, feel the rush and boost of energy from interacting with nature itself. If you are planning to play golf, you can schedule a tee time prior to playing for some relaxation and unwiding.
Our problems often seem smaller in open spaces, muses Declan Edwards, Founder of BU Coaching. When we’re in a room ruminating on the challenges of our life it’s easy for the problems to feel like they take up the entire room. It can almost feel stifling and suffocating. When you’re spending time in nature, however, you often tend to be surrounded by open space. This makes our challenges seem smaller in comparison to the vastness of nature – and this can help us feel like our problems are more manageable.
Jordan Robinson of Better Body Blog believes that constant exposure to outdoor elements can have a profound effect on how happy you are. In addition to getting your daily dose of Vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce fatigue and depression, natural outdoor spaces connect you to the earth and give you peace that is missing in your urban environment.
One prominent theory on how this happens is that the brain receives a strong boost when in natural environments and it spurs a positive loop that supports our happiness and mental well being. There are certainly many reasons that people may prefer avoiding outdoor spaces but we hope that they can be convinced to just take a short walk in their neighborhood.
When sitting for prolonged periods, (blood) circulation to our extremities can deteriorate, warns Janisvon Bleichert of Experte. This is why people who are constantly sitting often have cold feet or hands. Moving around (standing) helps our heart to circulate blood more evenly throughout our body. Talking a walk through the woods, hills, or a stroll in a park, even on a cold day, can make you feel much warmer. You'll also be in a better mood afterwards as your brain will release endorphins owing to the physical activity.
We spend a lot of time staring at screens, whether on our phone, television, computer, or other devices. Giving your eyes a break by taking in natural objects (rather than digital ones) can help to reduce headaches, eye strain, and the like.
Even just a few minutes outdoors can do wonders for you. This natural remedy is effective and free – so it is definitely one of the best and most effective self-care commitments you can make. What are you waiting for? Step foot outside, and you’ll come back recharged and better than ever.