Benefits of Spending Time Outside
A whole new world does exist outside your window, and it’s gorgeous, full of attractions, and called Dana Point. 😄 Spend more of your time in 2023 outdoors. If you’re not sure about which direction to head — we can help with tours and maps — and all the tips. Learn all about the benefits of being in nature and enjoying the sun outdoors here, and stay ‘YES’ to diving into new, healthy things in 2023.
In all honesty, Mother Nature may find the indoor world pretty tough to compete with sometimes. After all, she can’t offer flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, or WiFi. But she might potentially offer something even more important: improved health, by way of a stronger immune system, better sleep, and reduced stress.
Spending time outdoors can boost physical and mental health in a range of ways. You don’t have to spend hours at a time outside before those benefits kick in, either.
According to a 2019 study that included data from 19,806 participants, spending at least 120 minutes in nature per week can significantly boost health and well-being. You can go for a 2-hour chunk all at once, or break it up into smaller daily segments — the benefits still hold.
Even without any greenery around, spending time in sunlight and fresh air may help you feel better in mind and body.
Below, you’ll find 8 health benefits of spending time outside.
Air pollution can trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, which you may already know. It might surprise you to learn, though, that indoor concentrations of air pollutants are often two to five times higher than outdoor concentrations.
But spending more time in natural green spaces could help lower your risk of respiratory concerns.
One 2016 studyTrusted Source examining the relationship between local greenery and mortality risk followed 108,630 women for 8 years. Compared to people with the least greenery in their neighborhoods, people with the most greenery were 34 percent less likely to die from respiratory diseases.
You’ll generally find the freshest air in places with high air circulation. For example, camping in an open field may give you more relief from pollution than resting along a river walled in by skyscrapers and factories.
Typically, your body’s internal clock follows the sun, making you feel awake during the daytime and sleepy at night. Although artificial illumination can mimic natural light, direct sunlight has 200 timesTrusted Source the intensity of office lights in a closed room. As a result, sunlight affects your circadian rhythm more than electric light.
Exposing yourself to sunlight can improve your sleep by:
- helping you feel more tired at night
- shortening the time it takes to fall asleep
- improving the quality of your rest
The nice thing about sunlight? It doesn’t cost a thing. To get a daily dose, you only need to step outdoors.
Just keep in mind that sunlight needs to enter your eyes to affect your circadian rhythm. If you’re hoping to improve your sleep, picnicking at the beach may help more than napping in a shady wooded area.
Sunlight can often help ease depression symptoms like low mood and fatigue.
Light therapy can help treat both major depression and seasonal depression. If you have seasonal depression, you may notice improvement after a few daysTrusted Source. If you have major depression, it may take up to 2 to 5 weeks before you notice improvement.
Experts still aren’t completely sure how sunlight affects depression.
Some people believe sunlight has a protective effectTrusted Source since it can help your body produce vitamin D. It’s also possible that sunlight improves sleep, which in turn reduces the severity of depression symptoms.
If depression has sapped your energy, you can still get sunlight fairly easily. Try absorbing your daily dose while eating lunch, reading a book, or doing some good, old-fashioned sun-bathing — just don’t forget the sunscreen.
Working out in green spaces could help boost your motivation to exercise in the future, in part because outdoor exercise can:
- offer a nice change of pace from gyms and make physical activity more interesting and enjoyable
- make it easier to socialize, as many gyms have unspoken rules about not chatting to the person on the treadmill next to yours.
- feel easier and less strenuous, according to 2013 research suggesting people who walk outside tend to exercise at a greater intensity and report less exertion
You don’t have to bike a triathlon or ski down a mountain to enjoy exercise in nature. Any activity that gets your body moving in a way that’s doable for you, like gardening, playing with your dog at the park, or washing your car, can offer some health benefits.
The modern world contains plenty of intrusive stimuli — flashing screens, vibrating phones, rumbling roadways — that compete for our limited attention. This ongoing overstimulation may raise your stress levels without you even realizing it.
The natural world, on the other hand, can offer a mental and emotional refuge when you need to unwind and recharge. In nature, soothing attractions for your senses, from the perfume of flowers to the music of bird song, can hold your attention without draining your mental energy.
Research from 2020 suggests spending time in nature can help you feel more relaxed and focused, especially when you take the time to notice your surroundings. To get these benefits, you might consider doing slow-paced, contemplative activities like hiking in the woods or kayaking on a lake.
2023 is the year for you to explore Dana Point from its best view: outdoors! We will bring a clean, well-maintained bicycle directly to you! Rent a bike or schedule a tour today at 949-484-6409. Visit our Facebook page for more information.