Why Being Outdoors Is Good for You

By  February 28, 2014

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For those of us who spend most of our life indoors, it can be hard to make time to get outside. Luckily enjoying the outdoors can be much simpler than trekking along the Pacific Crest trail or embarking on a weeklong camping trip. A short stroll during your lunch break or a nature walk on the weekend can have significant benefits for your physical and mental health.

1. Escape your hectic routine.

With everything life throws at you daily, it’s good to take a step back and enjoy a long walk or hike outdoors. The blue skies and nature surrounding you can offer a sense of peace and serenity. You don’t have to think about that big office presentation or any other stresses on your mind. Even a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk can help you reenergize and refocus to take on the rest of your day.

2. A dose of fresh air and sunlight is good for the body.

One large tree can produce enough oxygen for two people. Think of all the trees right outside your door. Walk and take a deep breath. While you’re inhaling fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun beaming on your face. The sun provides many health benefits besides vitamin D. For example, exposure to it can help enhance your mood through the release of endorphins.

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise.

Get off the treadmill and into the wild. What’s great about working out alfresco? Besides an invigorating change of scenery and no complicated machines, exercising outside can offer different challenges to your workout. You can try dips on a bench or pull-ups at the playground, or just see how far your morning run will take you.

4. Connect with a family or friend.

Long walks can lead to long talks. When it’s just you and your best friend, your mom, your significant other, or whoever, walking together can often be like a therapy session. You can catch up and swap stories or get things off your chest you’ve been meaning to express. No phones, no tablets—just you two and conversation. Once you start walking and talking, sometimes it’s hard to stop, and by the end, you’ve become closer than before.

5. Gain inner peace.

There’s something about standing in the middle of a forest or on top of a hill that seems utterly perfect. There are no words to describe the feeling of that kind of silence around you. It can be haunting but at the same time peaceful. You can be alone with your thoughts and think more clearly without distractions. When you get back home, you’ll feel relaxed and more in tune with yourself.