5 Ways Being Outdoors Supports Our Health

We live in a world where most of our lives revolve around being indoors more than outdoors. While staying inside has its conveniences and benefits, there are impacts. As humans who evolved from living amongst the outdoor elements, we are deprived of nature and being outside. It’s a no-brainer that going into nature, whether in a forest or by a beach, has many benefits for our wellbeing. So why are so many of us disconnected from nature more than ever before? What are some proven ways outdoors supports our health and wellbeing? We’re going to get into everything in this blog!

If you want to learn more about why being outdoors is so beneficial, keep reading ahead!

Our disconnection from nature

As our modern world has grown over the past few decades, we’ve become much more comfortable with the little luxuries we have, from bigger TVs to shopping malls and movie theatres. So many indoor activities grab our attention, and while these things provide entertainment, do they also come at a cost? The answer is yes, especially for children. Studies show excessive screen time can negatively affect a child’s executive functioning, sensorimotor development, and academic outcomes. Too much screen time can impact a child’s language development as it detracts from interaction with other children and caregivers. Adults aren’t exempt from screentime either; too much of it can lead to insomnia, eye strain, addictive behaviours, reduced physical activity, and changes in cognition. Without a doubt, we have become an “indoor generation” to the point that some Americans don’t even leave their house on a single given day. At one point, this wasn’t even an option for human beings. 

How being outdoors can support our health

Knowing the impacts of too much screen time, staying stagnant, and being stuck indoors, the solution is simple – we must get outside more often! Here are some amazing ways being in nature supports our wellbeing:

1. Time in nature reduces stress

In one of their articles, The American Heart Foundation stated, “research shows that a 90-minute walk in nature lowers activity in the brain linked to negative thoughts.” Have you ever felt overwhelmed and noticed that getting out on a walk near trees and greenery starts to quiet the mind and bring more peace? There is something to be said about being outside, surrounded by scenery, and taking time to disconnect from the mental chatter in the mind and reconnect to the beauty around us. Next time you’re on a walk, try to be more mindful and present in your surroundings. Tune into the sound of birds, the wind rustling leaves on the trees, and notice the colours and shapes. Sometimes, tuning into nature’s details helps make our problems seem less significant. 

2. Sunshine boosts Vitamin D levels

We often take for granted just how vital the sun is in our daily lives. Being outside in the sunshine is not only an automatic mood booster but also provides our bodies with the Vitamin D we need. Getting enough of this vitamin is crucial for our muscles, nerves, immune system, and calcium absorption for stronger bones. Not enough North Americans get adequate amounts of sunlight, so making it a priority to get outside and soak up the sun can truly make all the difference. 

3. Walking in nature can benefit our attention span and concentration

Many of us are so plugged into technology, overstimulated, and keeping up with constant demands in our modern world. It can feel like there is always something grabbing our attention. Outside in nature, especially within a park or forest, it gives our mind a chance to sigh and pause. The open sky and fresh air may often feel like a reset for our brains from all of the overworking they do. Walking triggers the body to release endorphins, which relax muscles and ease tension in the body. These hormones that get released allow our minds to feel more calm by reducing anxiety and stress. 

4.  Being in nature impacts our physical health

Whether it’s running, walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, rollerblading, or skating, being outside encourages us to move our bodies. Physical activity and movement is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Being physically active provides us with numerous benefits from improving brain health, managing weight, reducing risk of diseases, and so much more. The combination of physical activity and being in nature is a win-win because nature provides a setting that actually reduces our cortisol levels and muscle tension. So next time you’re feeling stuck, try getting outside and moving. It will be sure to help you out of a rut!

5. It boosts our immune system 

Did you know that staying inside too much can actually negatively impact the immune system? Living in a completely sterile environment impacts the immune system since there is limited exposure the body isn’t able to accurately recoginze what is “dangerous.” Whereas being outdoors and getting your hands a bit dirty can actually help the immune system. Being outside prepares the body for more serious infections by running practice drills with certain “threats” you come into contact with. Not to mention, there is much better air circulation being outside with friends rather than inside, which means less chances of catching a flu or the common cold!


These are just some of the many incredible benefits that nature provides us with! Being outside, especially in the warmer months should never be taken for granted and always made a priority. As a collective humanity, so many of us have lost our balance in life and nature is one of the greatest reminders of how important harmony and balance is. Next time you’re having a bad day, try getting out for a walk and just watch how quickly your day can turn around for the better!

 

 

 

Citations:

Muppalla SK, Vuppalapati S, Reddy Pulliahgaru A, Sreenivasulu H. Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Child Development: An Updated Review and Strategies for Management. Cureus. 2023 Jun 18;15(6):e40608. doi: 10.7759/cureus.40608. PMID: 37476119; PMCID: PMC10353947.

Alexia Palmeri

Alexia Palmeri is a 28-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what's happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking nourishing meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!

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