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The Health Benefits of Spending More Time Outside

BLOG 4.26.18With warmer spring weather upon us, now is the time to spend some time relaxing outdoors before the sweltering summer months hit. Multiple studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and more have shown the numerous physical and mental health benefits of spending time outside. From improved mental health and focus to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, there are health benefits for everyone.

  • Reduces stress levels. According to a study published by the NIH, spending time outdoors has been linked to lower cortisol levels (aka, the “stress hormone”). Researchers have named the phenomena “nature therapy” and believe it can play an important role in preventive medicine. You don’t need to go on a week-long camping trip in the woods to reap the benefits though. For those of us who live in bigger cities, even going on a short walk at a local park will have a tremendous impact on your well-being.
  • Combats mental fatigue. The hustle and bustle of daily life can sometimes take its toll on our brain. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, head outside for some fresh air. Nature is considered a restorative environment because of its natural beauty, which can help boost your mood when you need it most.
  • Improves concentration. If you’re ever feeling stuck on a project or task, it may be time for a mental break. This is especially true for office workers who spend the majority of their day indoors surrounded by computer screens and artificial light. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram during your break, try going for a short walk around your building or even eating lunch outside. When you return to your desk later, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to focus on the task at hand.
  • Lowers blood pressure. In addition to the mental benefits of nature therapy, there are many physiological benefits as well. Studies have shown that being outside can lower your pulse rate, blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system, which all have a relaxing effect on the body. These are also great ways to maintain your heart health and lower your risk for heart attack or stroke.

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