The Great—and Healthy!—Outdoors
Psychologist and Entrepreneur in Residence Dr. Lauren Hazzouri shares the health benefits of having fun in the sun.
Research tells us that there are numerous physical and emotional benefits to spending time in nature. While those benefits don’t end when school begins, the warm weather and relaxed summer schedule make engaging in outdoor activities much easier. Here are five reasons to get outside and soak it all in before it’s too late.
Vitamin D is more important than you thought
Researchers indicate that nearly 95% of us are vitamin D deficient, in part because we’ve been trained to load up on sunscreen and limit our sun exposure to decrease skin cancer risk. Recently, it’s been recommended that we take in 15 minutes of sunlight before applying sunscreen, as vitamin D is important for our immunity and has been said to prevent many diseases. Balance is best.
Sleep doesn’t only feel good—it’s essential
Our sleep patterns are regulated by our circadian rhythms, which are tied to the sun’s schedule. Spending too much time indoors, due to anything from work schedules to travel, can impact our circadian rhythms. To combat the negative effects, get outside. Within a couple of days your circadian rhythm will have corrected itself, and you’ll be dozing off with ease.
Getting fresh air can keep you from getting sick
Indoor air pollutants are said to be up to 62% more damaging than outdoor air pollutants. Take advantage of nice days by opening the doors and windows in your office and at home; the cross-ventilation will improve indoor air quality. Still, nothing beats getting outside and indulging in deep breaths of fresh air, so take breaks and get out there.
Exercising outdoors packs a double-whammy
We all know that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle—the physical and emotional benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. Exercising outdoors is found to be even more beneficial than indoor exercise, because you must exert more energy outdoors to accommodate for weather and terrain. Exercising in nature has been shown to boost the benefits in mood and self-esteem that come with a good workout, big-time.
You'll boost your creativity and focus
One study shows that a walk outside increases creativity by 81%, so if you feel like you’re thinking and nothing’s happening, get outside now! In addition, children and adults with ADHD who spend a lot of time outside are better able to focus, as compared to their counterparts, who spend the majority of their time indoors. It’s a great way to increase attention levels before the start of school.
Create an art walk using bed sheets
Take the bake sale door-to-door
Make it a potluck picnic in the park
Make a backyard art exhibit
Images courtesy of Ivanka Trump