Being outdoors has become both a luxury and a necessity nowadays. Since mid-March, when we started dealing with the pandemic in the US, we have been limiting our time outside, to avoid touching surfaces and being in contact with other people. As we become more educated about this virus and restrictions are started to lift gradually, we see that our main resource of escape is “going outside”. During these extreme times, we have seen several people creating new habits of walking around the neighborhood, walking the dog several times a day, running, hiking, doing picnics, and any sort of outdoor activity. These new habits have been born out of necessity, but that doesn’t mean that once we gradually return to normal (fingers crossed), or as time passes, we should forgo these habits and just become potato couches again. Being outdoors provides many benefits, and that’s why your mind and body reinforce your desire of being outside.
If you weren’t sure about keeping your newly acquired habit of going out for a walk, go through these series of benefits and think again.
- Being outdoor boosts your energy levels
Movement stimulates more movement. At those times where you’re feeling like you need caffeine to get you through the rest of the day, instead, go for a walk. Changing the scenery will automatically send new alerts to your brain that will result in being more awake and energized than you were before.
- It feels easier to exercise outdoors
Being outdoors is all about the environment around you. There’s so much to see that being bored might last on your list. That’s why it’s easier to exercise outside. You are able to shift your focus from “I hate working out” to “look at that weirdly shaped tree”. Greenery, trees, and plants might add a boost to your workout.
- Outdoor experiences may help you fight depression and anxiety
Being outdoors won’t cure your anxiety and/or depression, but it will ease the symptoms. Studies show that being surrounded by greenery can improve both self-esteem and anxiety levels (1).
- Being outdoors helps boost your immune system
Scientists believe that breathing phytoncides – airborne chemicals produced by plants – increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, moody, and kind of stiff by lack of movement, ask yourself: have you ever seen a dog unhappy being outside? Being outdoors is the universal medicine for the mind and the body combined, and it is free!