5 Top Health Benefits of the Great Outdoors

While your health depends on getting 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day, engaging in those activities outdoors can maximize those health benefits. That’s because simply spending time in nature has been found to benefit human health in several different ways. Here are a few reasons a hike through the woods or a swim in a nearby lake can help you feel healthier.

Get a Boost of Energy

If you’re a victim of midday fatigue, try taking a walk around the block during your lunch break. Spending just 20 minutes outdoors provides an energy boost that’s comparable to a cup of coffee, according to some recent research. The energy spike is more pronounced when that time is spent in a park, at the beach, or another location that’s far removed from the bustle of the city. It’s not necessary to engage in physical activity to enjoy this energy boost, but taking a brisk walk will provide the added benefits that physical activity provides. If you are hiking, be sure to pack your boho backpacks with water, snacks, bandages, and other essentials.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Walking in the forest can have the same effects as spending some time meditating in that it gives your mind a way to escape the problems that challenge your daily life. Even a short walk will be long enough for you to get away from things and enjoy nature. Research has found that simply looking at nature helps to lower the stress hormones in the body, so getting out and experiencing nature firsthand is especially effective. Try going for a walk after work to clear your mind.

Lower Internal Inflammation

Millions of people suffer from inflammation that compromises the immune system, leading to a greater risk of developing a variety of diseases that include cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Research into the positive effects of the outdoors has found that people who spend more time outside experience a reduction in internal inflammation. This is true regardless of age or gender with college students and the elderly exhibiting similar reductions in inflammation. This could be one reason people who are outdoors more frequently are less likely to get sick.

Improve Mental Health

People who suffer from mental health issues can help themselves by spending more time outdoors. Researchers have found that the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders are reduced in severity and frequency when the individual spends more time outside. In one study, patients who suffered from schizophrenia exhibited fewer symptoms when they spent more time outdoors. While fresh air isn’t a cure for emotional disorders, it can be used to alleviate many of the symptoms. If you’re someone who suffers from mild depression or anxiety, taking a walk to the park may be the best way to alleviate the onset of your symptoms.

Sleep Better at Night

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may not be spending enough time outdoors. The functioning of the body is regulated by an internal biological clock called the circadian rhythm, which operates according to the cycle of day and night. If you’re spending the majority of your time indoors and away from the natural light the sun gives off, you’ll be disrupting your circadian rhythm. You can correct your internal clock by taking a walk during the day and by exposing your eyes to the darkness of nighttime in the evenings. This will help you regulate the circadian rhythm more accurately, so your brain will know when to release sleep hormones. In addition to helping you sleep better at night, spending more time outdoors will help you awaken feeling more energetic and productive. You’re also more likely to use that energy when you spend more time outdoors, creating a healthy cycle of sleep and wakefulness.

There are many different ways you can experience the benefits of outdoor living. You can learn to play an outdoor sport, such as golf, or you can simply spend some time sitting in a neighborhood park. As you spend more time outdoors and experience the benefits mentioned here, you’ll want to increase the time you spend outdoors. That can only lead to a happier and less stressful quality of life.

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