The weather is glorious (in some parts of the country at least). The days are finally starting to get longer and Spring is just around the corner. With so many benefits and so few excuses to getting outdoors, you'd be mad not to! I think people confuse "getting outdoors" with "exercise". I mean, it's great if you want to do both at the same time but exercise isn't for everyone and that's fine too. Even just getting the sun on your face for a few minutes can lift your spirits and energy so much.
The health benefits to getting outdoors into the fresh air are endless. Being outside actually offers relief from depression, anxiety and negativity. Why not step away from your desk and be surrounded by greenery, sky scenes and different faces on your lunch break today? Or you could take a walk through the office and chat with your colleagues who will more often than not talk work. Which would you prefer?
In an age where being glued to a screen is the norm we bury ourselves in technology all day pretty much ignoring the natural environment around us... Guilty!
Getting away from your desk and going outside can boost your mental health. You know that feeling when your brain just stops? You can't think of the next sentence to write. You don't know where those numbers came from. One thing that can get your mind back on track is being immersed in therapeutic environments. Think lush green trees, soft grass, the sound of birds chirping. It's not easy for everyone to be absorbed into the great outdoors within a concrete jungle but studies have shown that even looking at pictures of the great outdoors can boost your mental energy. Engaging with nature allows your brain to rest from the overstimulated environment of bright office lights, computer screens, tablets and phone screens.
Taking a step outdoors can restore your attention span and concentration levels. You come back to your desk or environment feeling a little more invigorated and ready to sit down and get on with the task at hand. Your mind feel likes it has had an actual break rather than staying within the work environment for the whole day.
Time outside means more vitamin D. Never a bad thing in a world where over 50% of people are deficient in the "sunshine vitamin". Vitamin D can be tricky to get as a food source as so few foods naturally hold it. Luckily, there are some supplements you can take to make sure you're not lacking in vitamin D, consult your doctor or health food store for information. The sunshine vitamin is so important for our health, it assists with the absorption of calcium and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Keep those pearly whites in good order with a walk in the sun.
Increase creativity. Stepping outside and allowing your brain to recalibrate can provoke creativity. Exposure to natural stimuli boosts the 'thoughtful state' allowing the imagination to do it's magic.
I know how difficult it can be to wake up and leave the house in the dark, have a long commute and then come home again after dark. It feels like winter is never going to end! That's why getting outdoors in the middle of the day can be so beneficial to your health and wellbeing. There are so many ways to get outside! A quick stroll on your lunch break is just one of them. If it's not always possible to get some a few minutes of fresh air in during the week then try to make an extra effort on the weekends.
Six ways to get outdoors and get more sunlight:
- Take your lunch to the park and have a picnic. Why not ask a few of your colleagues to join you or meet up with a friend working down the road for a chat.
- Open all curtains and blinds first thing in the morning. Natural light is great for waking your body clock and getting you into the rhythm of your day quicker. Even if it's raining outside, those first few minutes of daylight are so important to your body and your mind.
- Get outdoors and take some nice nature photographs. Why not make a habit of taking photos of your favourite place a few times a year so you can see how much it changes throughout the seasons?
- Take a boat ride down the river. Organise a day out with family or friends and do something you haven't done before. Get everyone out of the house and enjoying the outdoors.
- Go for a walk in the forest. Take in the nature around you and appreciate it's beauty. Something that you definitely cannot do inside!
- Sit outside on a nice deck for happy hour or dinner. What more of an excuse do you need to go for a drink with friends? Mines a Mojito please!
Did you know?
- A 20 min walk outside can kick your brain into gear as much as a cup of coffee.
- Vitamin D absorption can be lowered by wearing sunscreen so experts suggest getting 10-15 mins in the sun before applying SPF.
- The sun doesn't need to be shining in order for you to get skin damage. It is just as important to wear SPF on cloudy days. Talk to your doctor or skin care expert about wearing a product with a high enough SPF even for cloudy days. Let's not give ourselves any unnecessary wrinkles where they are not wanted!
Try it for yourself. Make a conscious effort to get outdoors today. I promise you will feel so good! I'd love to hear any fun or different ways you have to get outdoors and what you get up to.