Enjoy the Health Benefits of the Great Outdoors!

A recent update from Harvard discussed the health benefits of getting outside and recommends going alfresco.  Majority of Americans spend 90% of their time inside. But the jury is out and there are multiple benefits to getting out and soaking up some fresh air.

Being outside will increase your time exercising and moving. This means stronger muscles and improved flexibility with sustained outdoor activities. Adults may prefer more structured exercise of a gym, but any time walking, gardening, biking, or general movement outside is meaningful. Getting more exercise also means less time on electronic devices, televisions, video games, and computers. Tracking devices on children showed those who spent time outside were twice as active as those indoors.

Being outside increases your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is one of the vitamins with disease fighting powers. It helps to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, depression, stroke and heart attack. Most Americans are vitamin D deficient. But good news if you spend 10-15 minutes outside, your body is able to produce a sufficient amount.

Light makes people happier, it elevates moods. University of Essex in England showed that people who participated in “green exercise” (exercise outside) have added mental health benefits and are more happy. It only takes five minutes of outside exercise to elevate mood and self-esteem.

Time outside will improve your concentration. The greener the space is, the better. Research has shown that children with ADHD did better with concentrating after walking through a park compared to those who walked through a downtown area or neighborhood.

The outdoors may also have healing powers. Post-operative spine patients who had natural light exposure had decreased stress, took fewer medications, and reported less pain.