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Health Benefits of the Great Outdoors

Author: Megan, Eco Emi Team Member

Spring has finally sprung, and it’s time to reconnect with nature! While we live in an electronic world, it is important to focus on making time to go and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Studies show that 21 percent of youth spend about three hours per day browsing the internet or playing video games, and then they spend an average of an additional three hours in front of the television. These numbers show potential for reduced overall health and put society at a greater risk for emotional and social instability. With this being said, why don’t you join me in reviewing a couple of positive reasons to spend more time outside.

1.       Being outside promotes higher activity levels.

As many know, if you don’t get and stay active, you can be at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other mental and physical disabilities. Choosing to stay proactive and maintain regular physical activity helps build and sustain healthy bones and muscle and promote the feelings of well-being. Higher physical activity has been linked to spending time outside, and after all, nature is beautiful.

2. Being outside promotes mental wellbeing and reduces risk for Vitamin D deficiencies.

Exercising outside had shown to improve one’s self esteem and feelings of connectivity. It also has demonstrated a reduction of stress and mental fatigue with correlation of more time spent outside. Soaking up some sun rays for each day also can improves vitamin D deficiencies by 40%. Six to eight minutes in the sun during summer may be enough, and while in the winter it could be anywhere from seven to fifty minutes to reach an adequate amount of sun exposure. Be sure to use the proper skin protection though!

Not only can spending more time outside help relieve every day stress, but it can also benefit our physical well being.  Try setting a time aside each day or throughout the week to go outside, and put the fun back into it! Find ways to make it interesting with your kids, by going on nature hikes, skip rocks, plant a community garden, have a picnic, or just simply go running or exercise outside. There are always new adventures and opportunities waiting for you, so go ahead, and enjoy the beauty of nature!

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