We all know lots of ways to boost our health – working out, getting adequate sleep, eating produce, etc. But did you know that one really easy way to positively benefit your health is getting some time outside? Many of us spend a lot of time indoors because of our work/school environments, weather, and indoor hobbies/Netflix binges. However, you can reap the benefits of spending time in nature even through as little as 20 minutes a day! We’ve rounded up some of the major benefits of spending time in nature to show you that spending time in the great outdoors is not only refreshing and fun, but can have some really wonderful mental and physical health too.
1. Improved cognitive function: Research from the University of Michigan has found that interacting with nature for an hour can improve memory and attention by 20 percent. Getting outside can also result in greater creativity and productivity and reduced mental fatigue.
2. Increased wellbeing and lower stress: According to research by the University of Rochester, getting outside can increase people’s overall sense of wellbeing and vitality. Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub explains that some of these health benefits can be attributed to the fact that spending time in nature stimulates the reward neurons in your brain. This reward response turns off the chemical response to stress in your brain, which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and improved immune response.
3. Improved immune function: The vitamin D production that sunlight stimulates in your body supports your immune function, helping you ward off minor illnesses. This vitamin D production is also shown to increase fat metabolism, which means that getting outside is not only good for your immune system and heart, but also good for your waistline!
4. Improved mood and lower risk of depression and anxiety: The UVB exposure you get from spending time in the sunlight helps regulate melatonin which improves your mood and energy levels. Also, studies suggest that people who spend at least 20 minutes outside in green spaces per day experience fewer incidents of anxiety and depression.
We hope you enjoy the warmer weather by spending some time outdoors! What’s your favorite way to have fun in the sun?