One consequence of modern life is that we spend most of our time indoors. Unless you’re fortunate enough to enjoy an outdoor occupation, it can be difficult to find time to get out into the fresh air. You might wake up in the morning, hop into a car, and then spend eight hours in an office. Even your exercise time might be spent at an indoor gym.
Since the human body has adapted over thousands of years, mostly without the help of constant shelter, you might expect outdoor life to confer a few significant benefits. Let’s consider a few of them.
How Important is the Outdoors to Your Wellbeing?
Why Spend Time Outdoors?
Vitamin D is a nutrient responsible for regulating calcium levels in the body. It’s essential in keeping bones healthy, avoiding joint pain, and related conditions like rickets. Vitamin D is something that can be found in oily fish, red meat, and eggs – but the body will also generate it itself when it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Thus, the more time that you can spend outdoors, the better off you’ll be from a vitamin D perspective.
Exposure to sunlight, and to fresh air and greenery, has been repeatedly linked to improvements in mood. Just thirty minutes spent in a park can have a measurable impact on your state of mind, and on subjective measures of wellbeing like reported happiness.
How to Spend Time Outdoors
If you find that you’re not spending enough time outdoors, then it might be time to review your activities to week and see if you can spot a few opportunities. If you’re taking a daily commute, then think about whether you can inject a few more steps into the day by getting off on a different train station, or by parking a little further away from the office.
See if you can arrange to do your work out in the open, or if you can spend your lunch hour outside of the building. Better yet, take up a productive, physical outdoor hobby, like gardening. If you can get your garden into a respectable state, then you’ll be that much likelier to spend time in it. To get this preoccupation kick-started, tackle the easier tasks first. Opting to try some retail therapy and treating yourself to a new garden strimmer might actually motivate you to go and perform the task in question!
Being outdoors can often be combined with exercise. This needn’t be high-intensity exercise; in fact, if you’re going for low-intensity exercise, like walking, then you’re likely to spend more time out in the sunshine than you would if you were going quick and intense. Walking is the easiest form of exercise to recommend, as it’s approachable for just about everyone, and you don’t need any special equipment if you’re only going to be walking short distances.