All work and no play doesn’t just make you dull, it can also lead to an unhealthy and unbalanced lifestyle and have a drastic impact on your well-being. According to a recent survey from YouGov, some 90 percent of respondents indicated they spend almost 22 hours each day indoors, with 39 percent revealing that sunlight itself plays a significant role in their mood. The danger isn’t just to their emotional health either. We’ve long been taught about the links between lack of exercise and fresh air to heart disease and strokes, and while we have abundant resources to all the great outdoors has to offer, we also have smartphones, free delivery apps and social media to while away our time.
Where’s the trade off? The answer might be closer than you think. However, if you need reasons to get off the couch, here’s seven of the best benefits to being outdoors.
1. Better Sleep
It’s not just peaceful rest that comes after an activity-filled day of physical exertion, being outdoors can actually help regulate your internal temperature, which has a reciprocal effect on your circadian rhythms; leading you to a much deeper and restful sleep.
2. Elevate Your Body, Elevate Your Mood
It’s the simple circulation of blood in our body that helps encourage positive feelings. It reminds us of how great it feels to be completely in tune with our surroundings! Whether it’s a heavily focused game of golf or a leisurely jog, simple physical movement can change your outlook in ways you may have never thought possible.
3. What About That Vitamin D?
Sure, you might take a daily vitamin supplement, but Vitamin D is fundamental to healthy eyesight, bone density, proper circulation and a healthy immune system. Your body can’t get it without sunlight. Even 15 minutes of outdoor exposure a day can have a dramatic effect on your body’s production of Vitamin D.
4. Fight Anxiety the Natural Way
Sunlight has been proven to have an effect on boosting your serotonin levels, but did you know that even having a houseplant in the room can dramatically decrease your stress and anxiety? If a simple houseplant can do that much, imagine what a thicket of spruces or a forest of aspens could do (or at Sand Hollow Resort cactus and sagebrush!)
5. You Never Know Who You’ll Find
Think about chance friendships you may have made over the years seemingly out of the blue. Maybe it was someone who takes the same jogging path at the same time as you every day, or a fellow commuter. Whatever the circumstances, it’s doubtful you would have made those connections just sitting on the couch.
6. Boost Your Creativity
Most creative people tend to struggle and fixate on the most minute details of their work, but truly successful ones know that all they need to do is walk away for 20 minutes and they’ll return feeling revitalized and with an entirely fresh outlook. Maybe you’re not the creative type, but that’s no reason you can’t find yourself rejuvenated by an outdoor excursion no matter what your personality and habits are like.
7. You Need the Change Of Pace
It’s very easy for us to be creatures of habit. We tend to follow a daily routine—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We all need some semblance of order and coherence in our lives. However, we also need to break free of that routine if we’re going to live a more balanced life. That means accustoming yourself to the unexpected. That means breaking out of your trap, and that means cutting loose from your daily routine, even if it means a weekend away. No cell phones. No email. And no reminders. Just you, nature and all the surprises it has to offer.