Being outdoors is always a pleasant experience and induces a much call for a change in our busy lives. Going camping and trekking are some of the feasible options available for spending time outdoors. But if someone is less adventurous, a cycling trip with friends or a walk during the evenings will more than make up for the inherent wanderlust.
We currently live in times of social distancing and COVID-19. During the days when the pandemic was at its peak, isolating oneself indoors used to be the norm. We never used to leave home lest it was for errands that were unavoidable.
But, as human beings, we are social animals. The interpersonal human relationships that we have with everyone around holistically work well for our health and well-being.
There are several impacts of staying indoors on our lives that are difficult to see on the surface. On the other hand, spending some pleasant moments outdoors works well for our physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health. So one should make a proactive attempt to spend some time outdoors every day, and planning picnics or campfire buffets with your friends, family, and loved ones is one of the finest ways to go about the same.
In this article, we will take a look at the several benefits of spending time outdoors:
Mental health benefits
- Reduce Anxiety & Depression
One of the best ways to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression is to spend time outdoors. When one spends time in a green environment, the mood enhances and so does self-esteem. Spending time outdoors is a proven methodology that works for the people fighting depression, studies show. This therapy is known as Ecotherapy. Ecotherapy is not a comprehensive therapy but supplements other therapies. It primarily encompasses spending time in nature, doing some gentle exercises, or the more vigorous ones, like going for a run at the beach. Such activities help overcome mild cases of depression.
- Lifts up Mood
A few of the elements present outdoors are difficult to replicate indoors. They include fresh air and direct sunlight. Both make several benefits available for the mind and the body. Just as an instance, natural sunlight is known to boost overall self-esteem and improve mood. Studies have gone on to show that when the days are bright and sunny, people’s brains have higher levels of serotonin. This is irrespective of whether the weather is cold or warm. Serotonin is the natural mood stabilizer of the body. While it is known to reduce depression and anxiety, it boosts the mood as well.
- Improve Memory, Creativity, Critical thinking & Problem-Solving
There are several ways in which spending time outdoors boosts a range of skills that we use in everyday lives. This stands to be true in the case of children and adults alike. Companies often recommend that corporate workers spend time outdoors in their breaks from work. In some cases, companies put potted plants indoors to make the environment as close to the outdoors as possible. This not just keeps the employees healthier but boosts their work efficiency as well.
Studies have gone on to show that the children who spend time outdoors, whether at school or after school tend to be better performers in the terms of memory, critical thinking & problem-solving. Backpackers similarly perform higher in terms of creativity when they spend a few days outdoors in the dearth of their mobile devices.
Physical health benefits
- Burn more Calories
Working out outdoors seems easier, so one ends up burning more calories. This may have a lot to do with the verdant surroundings that the outdoors make available. In a recently conducted study, cyclists were required to use the exercycle before red, grey, and green screens. The ones exercising before green screens felt less fatigue and their mood was more positive towards the end of the activity. So, when one goes cycling in the proximity of nature, it works better for one.
- Boost Vitamin D
When we consider the health benefits of going outside, Vitamin D holistically renders positive effects on the body’s functioning. While Vitamin D aids with calcium absorption, it also prevents the onset and simplifies the management of osteoporosis. Some foods such as fortified milk and salmon help meet our dietary requirements of Vitamin D. But, 90% of Vitamin D in our bodies is produced due to exposure to sunlight.
- Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors and having access to sunshine aids with the management of chronic disorders. The recovery rates are higher when a patient spends some time outdoors, and the symptoms are less severe.
- Enhance Immunity
Through the current times, scientists have come to believe that when we breathe in phytoncides, which are the airborne chemicals that plants produce, it boosts the levels of WBCs in our bodies. This aids with fighting off diseases and infections.
Emotional Health benefits
- Better Relationships
As per psychologists, when one is exposed to nature by spending quality time outdoors, one can overcome societal pressures. This puts one in a better position to value the most important things in life, such as relationships, community, and sharing.
- Self- Awareness
Outdoors induce self-awareness in several ways. Just as an instance, when one smells freshly cut grass and roses, this is as good as professional aromatherapy and makes one feel more relaxed and calm. Similarly, being outdoors is one of the finest ways to prevent nearsightedness. These entire factors combine to make spending time outdoors one of the finest ways to feel like the one with the world. One develops a strong sense of self-awareness by spending time outdoors.
Here are some things you can do
There are several ways to spend time outdoors, and none of them should be classified as right or wrong. Ultimately, all outdoor activities benefit us through the time we spend outdoors. But, when one is unsure about what will work for one, then, we can consider the recommendation presented below.
- Soft Adventures
Soft adventures primarily involve specific outdoor settings and adventures, such as short-distance hiking, camel riding, wall climbing, zipline and obstacle courses.
One can pleasantly spend time outdoors when one involves himself or herself with soft adventures. One can fill in his lungs with fresh air and enjoy the environmental settings, in the company of his friends, family, or loved ones. There are no prerequisites to indulge oneself with soft adventures, and the activities are ideal for anyone, including children or seniors.
- Go camping
Going camping is fun. One gets to spend time by the campfire, sing songs, play the guitar, interact with friends and enjoy a buffet. So, when you find the time, you can organize a nice little camping trip with your family and loved ones at Mussoorie.
- River Trekking
You might be too familiar with the idea of running down a stream in a boat. Now imagine doing that but in the reverse direction and on foot! Mind boggling isn’t it? You will have a blast going against the flow of the water while being attached to a rope in the stream of Mussoorie. Obstacles such as big boulders and mini waterfalls will keep the challenge exciting.
- Body Surfing
The most relaxing of all activities that literally requires you to ‘go with the flow’! A smooth current of water flows through the cool stream and all you have to do is suit up in your floatable jacket, lay on your back and oat along. Did you know that you can check out this really cool activity near Corbett, one of the very famous wildlife attractions and favourite family vacation spot!
These are plenty of activities that one can do in the great outdoors. If one spends merely 20-30 minutes outdoors, it enhances one’s health significantly at many levels.