For employees, changing from working in an office to working from home could mean that there are fewer opportunities to leave the house and socialise, never mind the guilt about leaving your desk for a quick mood-boosting walk. Scholars and students need time off from the pressures of learning and a classroom environment. Older people need to exercise and socialise to maintain their health and wellbeing. Research shows that taking just a short time outdoors has incredible benefits for all of us. Here are five reasons why getting outside daily can be great for your health.
Being in nature has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which are indicators of stress in the body. But the benefits go much further than that. A study from the University of East Anglia1 reveals that exposure to green space also reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth and high blood pressure.
Boost your immunity
Getting your daily dose of sunshine can boost your immunity and help you sleep better. Vitamin D, which our bodies synthesise when our skin is exposed to the sun, is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system, bones and blood cells. Your body needs sunlight to make vitamin D, but you don’t need much. The outdoor elements also help set your sleep cycle, and sleep is an important factor in immunity balance.
Support a healthy appetite
Outdoor time will help you be more active and sleep better, both of which help you burn calories. If nothing else, being outside keeps you away from the lure of the fridge or snack cupboard! If you start to increase your efforts, exercise outdoors – walking, running or cycling – can be a good support to weight reduction. Parks and open spaces are right there and ready for you to use, and they’re free!
Calm your mind
Mental health therapists recommend improving your mood by going outdoors daily and looking up at the sky. Being outdoors is known to help ease emotional and mental pain while improving mood and self-esteem. Sunlight is thought to keep your feelgood serotonin levels up. When you get outside, you’re also likely to see people who live in your local area, creating a sense of community which is important for your mental health.
Change your focus and fight screen time
Have you ever solved a tricky dilemma by taking a walk to help you refocus? To sharpen your concentration, giving you increased productivity and focus when you return to your desk, take an outdoor excursion to clear your mind. Being in nature also enhances your creativity. That’s worth popping outside for 30 minutes a day! Screen time is such a draw for adults and children alike, but taking a little outdoor adventure is good fun too. Newbury personal trainer Arland Craik sees the positive effects that being outdoors can have on a daily basis.
“I work with many people who have stressful jobs and lives, taking their exercise seriously as a way to stay healthy. Incorporating an outdoor element is a brilliant way to change their focus, lift their mood and take their minds off the stresses and strains of the day. It’s incredible to see the difference after just a few weeks of including outdoor exercise. Irrespective of fitness level, the first thing a new client says to me after a couple of sessions is that they just feel better! We’re so spoilt in Berkshire for outdoor space too – woodland trails, riverside views and incredible cycle routes.”Arland Craik
So there you have it. Get your shoes on and take your first steps to a healthier body and mind with an outdoor walk.
Arland Craik, Newbury https://arlandcraikpersonaltraining.co.uk/