Why You Should Spend More Time Outside


When it comes to self-care, there are a few methods that are really common, including practicing good personal hygiene, eating well, exercising regularly, and practicing positive affirmation. While all of those things are great and should be done regularly, there is one form of self-care that is often either forgotten or neglected: Spending time outside.

While we have all heard our parents and other people tell us to spend more time outside, it still might be surprising to hear being in nature referred to as a form of self-care. As I mentioned, when we think of self-care, we usually think of face masks and spa days, tidying up the house and treating ourselves to a well-deserved snack. But a lot of research has been done suggesting that spending time outside carries with it a number of important benefits, so when you’re thinking about taking care of yourself, you might want to add “spend time in nature” to your routine. Here’s why.


Improve Your Short-Term Memory
Studies support the idea that walking outside positively impacts your short-term memory in ways that walking inside (say, on a treadmill) does not. Those benefits are exaggerated by walking through a place that is filled with nature. In some cases, people who walked through nature just before taking a brief memory test scored 20% higher than people who did not.

Relieve Stress
Research has shown that spending time outside surrounded by nature is linked to lower heart rates and levels of cortisol, a hormone that is produced when people are stressed. In addition, natural scents like lemon, lavender, jasmine, and rosemary all have calming effects and control emotional stress.

Increase Creativity
Psychologists have discovered that people who spent a few days outside scored 50% higher on creativity tests after spending a few days outside without electronics.


Boost Energy Levels
One study has suggested that spending a half an hour outside gives you as much energy as one cup of coffee. And the best part? You won’t feel an energy crash after a few hours. So the next time you’re craving a cup of coffee, consider taking a walk outside instead.

Lower Blood Pressure
A study in Japan discovered that taking a walk outside (in their case, it was through a forest) helps to lower blood pressure. Other studies that have been done have supported the correlation between being outdoors and lower blood pressure levels.

Make Working Out Fun
A study was conducted about whether or not working out outdoors has an impact on how much people enjoy the exercise. As it turned out, it did: Participants who exercised outside reported feeling less exhausted and more enjoyment after working out than people who exercised indoors. And there are a lot of enjoyable outdoor activities to choose from, from rock climbing to sand volleyball and more.


The Benefits of Natural Sunlight

  • In one study, surgery patients who were exposed to sunlight reported feeling less stress and pain than patients who were not. As a result, the patients who got more sunshine ended up taking less pain medication.
  • In the winter, shorter days and less sunlight can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a disorder that is characterized by symptoms of anxiety and depression around the same time each year. Spending time outside has been shown to reduce the effects that SAD has.
  • Everybody needs Vitamin D in order to function properly and stay healthy. And while there is some Vitamin D in some foods, we get most of our Vitamin D from the sun.


Helps with Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can be improved by spending time outside. That is especially true when you combine being outdoors with physical exercise. In fact, the positive effect that being outside has been shown to have on treating mental health issues is so strong that many therapy and addiction recovery programs incorporate experiential therapy into their treatment methods.


The list of benefits that spending time outside brings is long—certainly longer than this. From mental health to physical health and more, making an effort to spend some extra time outside has enough positive benefits on overall health and wellness to make it worth incorporating into our self-care routines. So take some time today to reconnect with mother nature. You’ll thank yourself later!

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