Why You Should Spend More Time Outside

Unfortunately too many of us are spending the majority of our time indoors. Between the daily commute, a desk bound job and evenings spent in front of Netflix, it is reported we spend 90% of our time indoors.

So, what are the negative consequences of our less than natural lifestyles? Lets take a look.

Low Vitamin D:

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, which plays an important role in the body including calcium absorption, cell growth and maintaining a healthy immune system. One study found vitamin D deficiency among indoor workers to be as high as 78 per cent!

A lack of the 'D' can lead to long term health problems, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases.

Lack of sleep:

Another side effect of an indoor lifestyle is poor sleep. Frequent lack of exposure to sunlight can disrupt our circadian rhythm which acts as our internal “clock,. This impacts many of our internal processes like temperature regulation, sleep patterns and even keeping hormones in check.

More stress:

Our indoor lifestyles are leading us to miss out on the health benefits we get from being in nature. Studies have linked many psychological advantages to being a nature lover including reduced depression, reduced anxiety, an Increased desire to be social and greater self-esteem.

Impaired bodily functions:

Research into “grounding,” a term coined to describe direct skin-to-earth contact, yields fascinating results from what is believed to be an exchange of free electrons into the body. Benefits of grounding are reduced inflammation and faster wound healing.

The Japanese culture embraces a practice called shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which is the practice of spending mindful time amongst trees and fresh, quiet air. It’s gaining popularity as a therapeutic technique given the positive effects like decreased blood pressure and improved immune response.

So how do we reap these benefits when we spend most of our time in a concrete jungle? 

Spend weekends in nature:

You may not be able to forest bathe every day, but you can take advantage of your weekends. Take a drive and find a local nature spot. Bring a friend, a book, or just take yourself. Absorb as many details as you can: the colours, smells, and sounds.

Eat lunch outdoors:

During your work week, go have lunch outside. Most cities are accommodating with grass and tree areas. If you have a backyard at home, that’s prime real estate. Take off your shoes while you eat and feel that grass beneath your feet.

Bring the outdoors indoors.

If you are tied to the indoors invest in some plants for around the home of at work.

Interacting with the natural world brings clear benefits to both the body and mind. To make the most of these, incorporate as much time outdoors and greenery into your life, as you can. It might just do the trick to make you feel healthier and more connected.