CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoors

Benefits Of An Outdoor Lifestyle

05.08.19
CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoors

Did Jody Daunton and Rachel Taylor’s podcast interview inspire you to get outdoors and enjoy an outdoorsy lifestyle? These two creative entrepreneurs are the founders of Another Escape, an outdoor lifestyle and creative culture publication that celebrates people who are inspired by nature and live life in tune with the outdoors.

Being outdoorsy always seems to get a bad rep as only being for people who are adventurous and enjoy living off-the-grid. While that can seem the case at times because of the influx of adventure travel imagery in social media, being outdoorsy can truly be as simple as enjoying activities and creative explorations in just your own neighbourhood – your local parks, national parks or even in a community garden. Being outdoors is a mindset shift. Both Jody and Rachel talk about the benefits of outdoor lifestyle not just as outdoor loving people but also devoting their careers to showcasing people and narratives around a theme of nature.

If you want to listen to Jody and Rachel’s podcast interview, you can listen to it here.

Science is abound with research as to why spending time outside, and being active, is beneficial to both adults and to children. Unfortunately, most people around the world spend more than 75% of their day indoors and in front of computers or other technical devices. But being outdoors and breathing in some fresh air has mental, physical and emotional benefits. Psychologists and mental health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons why we should go outside and enjoy the natural world.CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoorsHere are some reasons why being outdoors for even a small amount of time everyday is so beneficial.

#1 Being in nature improves short-term memory

Several studies show that nature walks have memory-promoting effects that other walks don’t. In fact Japanese culture talks about forest bathing – Shinrinyoku – which is essential spending time under the trees or in a forest as a way to take a break from our busy days.

In one study, University of Michigan students were given a brief memory test, then divided into two groups. One group took a walk around an arboretum, and the other took a walk down a city street. When the participants returned and did the test again, those who had walked among trees did almost 20% percent better than they had first time. The people who had taken in city sights instead did not consistently improve. A similar study on individuals suffering from depression found that walks in nature boosted working memory much more than walks in urban environments.

#2 Being outdoors helps reduce stress

Something about being outside changes the physical expression of stress in the body.

One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent that time in a city. Researchers also found a decrease in both heart rates and levels of cortisol in participants who spent time in the forest as compared to those in the city. Sometimes even having an office with a view of the trees and parks have soothing effects on workers.

#3 Spending time outside reduces inflammation

When inflammation goes into overdrive, it’s associated with a wide range of illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and cancer. Spending time in nature may be one way to help keep that in check.

Researchers have also noted that increasing your vitamin D levels from being outside is important as it prevents chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year.

#4 Enjoying the outdoors eliminates fatigue

You know that feeling when your brain seems to be struggling to stay awake or even function normal basic every day tasks? This is called mental fatigue – where the brain is having a hard time focusing.

One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which, research has found, generally means the great outdoors. Sometimes even looking at pictures of nature have a soothing effect. Think back to seeing those inspiring and motivation quotes in your doctor’s office that are generally set against a backdrop of mountains, waterfalls or the ocean. Studies have also found that natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which is one of the surest ways to experience a mental boost.

#5 Being outside promotes and improves creativity

Studies have found that people immersed in nature for four days boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%.

So if you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with a brilliant idea, take a walk outside. Walking in itself increases creativity, but walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. To take full event of this, try not to multi-task with music or even podcasts and audio books. Maybe listen to the CulturallyOurs podcast before you step outside so that the inspiring people you get to meet on the podcast can help get those creative juices flowing! Let the time outside be just to spend time outside.

Even among children with ADHD,  spending time in nature leads to improvements in focus and higher scores on concentration tests. Richard Louv, in his book Last Child in the Woods, even used the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe behavioral problems he believes stem from spending less time outdoors.CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoorsSpending more time outside is arguably one of the easiest ways to improve your life. Now that it’s finally warm outside, we challenge you to spend at least 15 minutes every weekday and one hour each day of the weekend outside. Start tracking the amount of time you spend outside each day, and see if you feel healthier and happier.

How much time do you spend outside on a weekly basis? We would love to know.

CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoors CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoors CulturallyOurs Benefits of spending time outdoors

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  1. Nicky says:

    This article totally resonates with me. Being from the UK where the winter days are short and often it rains for weeks on end, it’s tough to get that outdoor time. Who wants to get a chill walking in the rain? But through my travels I’ve realised just how much I love to be outside. I notice things I would normally not register. If only we could all do this, the world would definitely be a better place.

    • Karthika Gupta says:

      Totally agree Nicky! There is just something about being outdoors that is so energizing to the mind and body, isn’t it?

  2. Jennifer says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the benefits of outdoors! I live nothing more than camping with my family! It brings us closer together.

  3. Yukti Agrawal says:

    Very beautiful post as having outdoor lifestyle sometimes connects you well with nature. I agree remaining outside keeps us healthy and out immune system more strong. Also we reduce stress and fatigue when we are outside.