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6 Benefits of being outdoors

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lbobvalla
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Discover the 6 Benefits of being outdoors.

As the weather gets colder, our natural inclination is to stay indoors. Cozy bonfires, comfort food, and the sweet stretch of sweatpants – why brave the outdoors?

6 Benefits of being outdoors

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Turns out we’re not. Did you know that Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors? Between commuting to and from work, spending more than 8 hours a day working, and doing our normal daily work, we see nature more on our televisions than in real life.

Not only is this a depressing statistic, but there are real health benefits of being outdoors that we’re missing out on when we’re confined to our homes and office buildings.

6 Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

From improving our mood to feeling cooler, being outdoors is something that would do us all better.

1.- Breathe better

• Between the pollution, seasonal allergies, and creepy tingles outside, some of us would prefer to stay indoors as often as possible. But if you thought you breathed better air indoors, I hate to break it to you: Indoor air pollution can be up to 10 times worse than what you’re inhaling outdoors.

• Most of us think of pollution as factory smoke or car exhaust, but indoor air pollution means our homes are loaded with it, too, and often at levels significantly higher than found anywhere.

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Inadequate ventilation, paints, chemicals from household and personal products, and mold all contribute. So if you need to get some fresh air, it’s time to get out.

2.- Absorb vitamin D

• One of the most common deficiencies among American adults is vitamin D deficiency.

• What makes the vitamin different from most of the ones we need is that our bodies make most of the vitamin D we need, rather than relying on the foods we eat to supply it.

• Our bodies convert the sun we absorb into chemicals that turn it into the vitamin D we all know and love.

• However, if we don’t get outside enough, our bodies struggle to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D.

• Whenever possible, try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun time every day and reap the health benefits of being outdoors.

3.- Helps to counteract seasonal affective disorder

• While this might only apply for half the year, it’s a big one.

• Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that appears in the early fall and worsens in the winter.

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• Although researchers aren’t sure what exactly causes it, a lack of light and vitamin D are suspected to play a role.

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• Even if you don’t have SAD, the lack of natural light during cold weather can affect your mood. Mitigate the effects and increase your vitamin D intake while going outside.

4.- Enjoy a swim in the forest

• No, it does not include an outdoor shower. It is closer to camping.

• But forest bathing, or forest therapy, is based on the Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku, which emphasizes spending time away from the hustle and bustle of cities and embracing nature.

• The Japanese, already savvy with their Okinawan diet, are onto something. Getting out in nature can increase the activity of a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection and tumor cells.

• It also helps reduce blood pressure and stress, something we can all use.

5.- Relieve anxiety

• Do you feel anxious about something? Taking a walk outside can help.

• Researchers have found that just being outside in nature can improve your overall feelings of well-being and reduce anxiety.

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• Escaping indoors and going outside can also stimulate creativity – it’s one reason walk-ups are becoming more popular.

6.- Practice your grounding

• Have you heard of grounding before? It is a way to connect with the energy of the earth by going barefoot.

• Our feet attract electrical charges from the earth, allowing them to flow through us.

• The results are better sleep, less inflammation, and more time in nature – everyone wins. And of course, you need to be outside to ground yourself; carpets or hardwood floors don’t have the same effects!

How to spend more time outdoors

Are you struggling to figure out how you can add the health benefits of being outdoors to your lifestyle and spend more time outdoors? It is not as difficult as you think, just follow these simple recommendations:

Exercise outside. Take your yoga sessions to the backyard or skip the treadmill and visit the park instead.

Go for a walk. Break the mid-afternoon slump with a short walk outside, or go for a walk while chatting on the phone.

Eat out. Enjoy a change of scenery and eat al fresco.

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Embrace seasonal activities. It’s cold outside? Play in the snow, head to the park or go for a brisk walk. Hot? Try hiking or watching your favorite baseball team play.

• So no matter the season of the year, it’s time to get up from the sofa and enjoy nature. Your health will thank you.

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