Sometimes it is nice to just stay inside, binge-watch Netflix, play Super Mario for hours and don’t care what is happening outside. The internet may give us the feeling of being everywhere at the same time without leaving our flat. But going outside, performing outside activities, being in nature has a lot of positive effects. – Not just on our physical well-being but it can also work as a mood boost. Read on to find out about the positive effects of being outside and why it is so important for our mood!
You probably know the feeling: When you’ve been thinking about something for hours – your head feels like it’s gonna blow. Your brain is crammed. It’s time to take a break. One of the best and most efficient ways is to go outside into nature and – if you want – do a little bit of exercise. A study conducted by the University of Idaho together with the Leopold Wilderness Research Institute Missoula showed that nearly 50% of people who went on a (short) trip into the wilderness felt mentally rejuvenated afterwards. Of course, usually, you can’t just go on a hiking trip when you want to take a break. But it gives a direction to what to do – go outside, head for the nearest park and let your head cool off.
Did you know that for most of us, indoor air pollution is a much greater risk to our health than outdoor air pollution? – Here’s why: In indoor environments, the so-called “air pollutants” exist in a very high concentration. Sources for these air pollutants are things like cleaning products, space heaters, tobacco smoke. If you live in an old house you may have a few more air pollutant sources like asbestos or formaldehyde (which was used in paints). If you add the fact that we spend almost 90% of our time indoors (according to the US Environmental Protection Agency), it’s obvious that we should be careful about the air quality in our own house, apartment or room. And spend more time outside!
Yes, going outside comes at no extra costs. Now that’s a bummer, right?! 😉 Unlike any fitness club, gym, water pools or golf club, enjoying the outside and doing outside activities is for free. You might even get in contact with friendly people, discover a new mountain bike trail or break your personal running record. Sometimes, the best things in life are really free!
Boost Vitamin D
It’s often overseen that vitamin D is important for our physical health AND our mood. There are three ways to get vitamin D: food, supplements and sunlight. The warmer times of the year are also the times for vitamin D boosts because it is produced by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
According to Medical New Today, long Vitamin D deficiency can result in mental health illness such as depression, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome. Enough reasons to go outside and refill your Vitamin D levels every sunny day!
This might be especially interesting for those of us with major depressive disorder: According to a study, being outside in nature can give you a mood boost. People were divided into 2 groups and asked about a personal issue before and after taking a walk. Those that took the walk in nature showed a significantly better mood than those who took the walk in an urban setting. So, if you are going for a walk, try to visit your nearby nature! 🙂
Jay Maddock, a Professor for Public Health on the Texas A&M University, recently published an article about the reasons why some doctors are prescribing a day in the park or a walk on the beach for good health. One of the reasons is that being outside in nature does not only has a positive effect on pain, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate but also on stress. The well-known advice to do gardening if you feel stressed is not so wrong after all!
Since there is so much proof about the many positive effects of being outside in nature, doctors in the UK now even prescribe coastal walks, bird-watching, gardening etc. to their patients. Your doctor may not yet give you such a prescription, but you can do it on your own – whenever YOU want!