The next time you’re considering hosting a party, or want to do something different for dinner, why not take it outside?
Even something as simple as heading to your backyard can do a world of good—especially considering that the average American spends 93 percent of their time indoors.
That’s a staggering number, one made even more drastic when you realize that means you only spend 7 percent of your time outside.
Are you ready to head into the outdoors and reap some fantastic physical and mental benefits? Curious as to what the science-backed reasons to go outside are?
Look no further. Here are several reasons to eat, play, walk, workout, relax, and more, in the great outdoors.
Indoor Air Pollution Is Greater
You may not believe it, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms this surprising fact.
Concentrations of some air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher inside than outdoors. Next time you think you’re opening your front door to a pollutant-free bubble, think again.
Being indoors can even contribute to more colds and cases of flu in the wintertime. Because we’re inside more often during the colder months, we’re exposing ourselves to higher concentrations of airborne pollutants and even viruses.
Getting “a breath of fresh air” has never been a more valid statement. The next time you want to clear your lungs, go outside and gulp in some of that clean, clear goodness. Hangout by your fireplace in the wintertime to stay warm.
Going Into the Outdoors Improves Perspective and Mindset
Some studies state that even a mere five minutes outdoors can benefit our outlook on life-improving mood and self-esteem.
The next time you’re having a bad day, stressed about work, life, or relationships, or simply want to hype yourself up before a busy day or job interview, take a walk in your neighborhood. Sit outside on your canopy swing and read a few pages of a book. Take your lunch break out back and watch the birds and the bees in your yard.
If improving your mood was this simple (and it is!), why wouldn’t you?
Being Outside Can Help You Sleep Sounder
Not only does being outdoors improve your waking hours, but it just may help you sleep better, too!
Our bodies adjust with the daylight and nighttime—our circadian rhythm rises and falls with the sun. Being outdoors for prolonged periods resets our internal ‘clock’ to be more in-tune with this light and dark cycle.
Not only are you more likely to get to sleep at a decent hour, but your rest is longer, too. The artificial light we see all day—phone and computer screens, the TV—thwarts this good sleep.
In a study of those who spent a week camping, it was found that melatonin becomes more regulated. Melatonin levels started to rise around sunset—inducing natural sleepiness. Because of this, the campers were also more likely to wake with the sun.
Fatigued? Get Outside
Are you finding yourself hitting a midday slump? Is your child having trouble staying focused in school? Looking for a natural way to get over that random sleepiness that sets in every afternoon?
The answer may be the great outdoors.
The natural world offers a therapeutic environment where people can recover from fatiguing activities that involve directed or voluntary attention. This means you can stay better focused on work, or your kid better focused on tasks throughout the day.
How does this restoration happen?
First, nature instills a sense of fascination—especially if there are sunsets, waterfalls, and other cool features—which powerfully draws our attention. Next, the feeling of separating ourselves from stressful school and work routines is refreshing.
Plus, we as humans are more in-tune with nature, where there’s no focusing on stoplights, driving, and other things we have to do in our ‘built’ environments.
Stock up on Vitamin D
Sure, you can get Vitamin D from other sources, such as supplements, food, and drink—but research shows that the sun is our best source of Vitamin D.
We could all use more Vitamin D, too, especially considering that 40 percent of people have a deficiency.
Low Vitamin D levels can lead to a slew of adverse effects, such as
- Muscle weakness
and even death.
When our skin gets exposed to the sun, the cholesterol in it produces Vitamin D. But, on the opposite side, too much sunlight can be harmful. Luckily, there are ways to find that perfect balance.
First, go outside around midday, especially during the summertime. The sun is at its highest point around noon, and that’s when UV rays are most intense. By waiting until this time, you can spend as little as 13 minutes outside and still gather a sufficient amount of Vitamin D.
Something else worth noting is how much skin gets exposed. Since cholesterol in our skin produces the vitamin, the more skin that’s exposed, the better. You could sit by your pool in a bathing suit for about 10-30 minutes sans sunscreen and reap some fantastic benefits.
Go Outside, Even in Your Own Backyard
What are you waiting for? Shut off the screen—it’s time to go into the outdoors!
As you can see, there are fantastic benefits to be had, both mental, physical, and emotional. Plus, these are just a few of many more. Can being indoors say the same thing?
We can help you build a backyard oasis that practically begs you to spend time in it. We specialize in creating outdoor kitchens and patios with excellent lighting and working draining and irrigation. We can even install fire features to let you enjoy your backyard in the winter months.
Contact us today to see how we can help you get outside even more.