Summer Vibes – The Effects of Being Outdoors on Our Health
July 10, 2018
Summer has officially begun! With the arrival of a new season, you may find yourself with more
downtime than before. With that extra time, it’s alarmingly easy to let it go to waste. While it is
totally understandable to have a “lazy day” every so often, don’t let it become a habit! Don’t
spend your Summer months cooped up in your basement playing video games, religiously
checking your smartphone messages, or mindlessly watching Youtube videos. Before you know
it, that “lazy day” will turn into a “lazy month.” So instead, go outside! Stroll down a sunny
path while soaking in the sun, nibble on a scrumptious picnic lunch in a grassy park, or read a
thought-provoking novel while swaying in a hammock. Experiencing tomato-red skin after
spending a bit too much time scorched dry by the sun? Don’t let that stop you! Dance around
in puddles during a rainy day, belt out your favorite song at an outdoor concert, or marvel at
the nighttime’s luminous constellations after chowing down on a perfectly roasted gooey
S’more. Do whatever makes you happy! During a beautiful time of the year like now, the fresh
air is beckoning us. As said by Kahli Gibran, “Forget not that the earth delights to feel your
bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.” Our job is simply to listen to its call and reap
the rewards – both physical and mental.
Need a bit more motivation to answer Mother Nature’s call? Read on to discover the proven
benefits of spending time outdoors.
The outdoors promotes natural sunlight exposure. This increased exposure to UV rays in turn
encourages serotonin production, which is a chemical in the brain that “activates” happiness.
What’s more, a Stanford study proved that simply observing photos of greenery can boost
Enhanced Brain Power
There’s a reason your told to go for a walk outside if you need to “recharge” after hours of
mentally taxing work. The reason: the outdoors can improve concentration. In one study, it was
even shown that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being in open air.
The outdoors has been associated with stress reduction. This can in part be attributed to
Mother Nature’s therapeutic scent. The wafting smell of jasmine, lilacs, and roses can increase
relaxation; and, the aroma of fresh pine lowers anxiety.
Increased Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D deficiency is rampant among Americans, with it being one of the most common
deficiencies. What makes this vitamin unique when compared to others is its source. For most
vitamins, our intake depends on the food we eat. With vitamin D, however, we rely on the sun
to convert chemicals in our bodies into vitamin D. So, less sunlight leads to less of this vitamin.
This vitamin is necessary for critical functions, including: bone growth, cell growth,
inflammation reduction, neuromuscular response, and immune response. Studies even suggest
that it helps fight certain health conditions (e.g. osteoporosis, cancer, heart attacks, and
Improved Healing Abilities
There have been many fascinating studies showing how time outside can actually improve a
person’s healing abilities. One study demonstrated that just a person’s view of nature through a
window compared to a manmade structure (eg. trees versus a brick wall) can help with
recovery. Another study looked at individuals recovering from spinal surgeries. With this study,
those exposed to natural light reported less pain and took fewer pain medications.
Walking can increase ones creative juices. In particular, walking outside has been shown to
positively influence novelty. Why? Because nature inspires creativity. As said by Honore de
Balzac, “What is Art, monsieur, but Nature concentrated?” Nature is (and breeds) creativity.
Hopefully, you now feel inspired to head outside. Feel free to comment below on your
favorite ways to spend time in nature.
Also, connect with us on social media to learn more about our program and gain
knowledge on improving your mental health!
Harvard Health Publishing. “Spending Time Outdoors Is Good for You, from the Harvard
Health Letter – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Blog, www.health.harvard.edu/
Munoz, Kissairis. “6 Health Benefits of Being Outdoors.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 14 Nov. 2017,
Weingus, Leigh. “6 Science-Backed Reasons Outdoor Exercise Is So Much Better For You.”
Mindbodygreen, Mindbodygreen, 31 July 2017, www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/
Williams, Florence. “How Just 15 Minutes of Nature Can Make You Happier.” Time, Time, 7
Feb. 2017, time.com/4662650/nature-happiness-stress/.
Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post,
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/22/how-theoutdoors-make-you_n_5508964.html.