Throughout time and especially in today’s society, we’ve lost touch with nature, with being outside and sometimes even what’s important in life. Most people are living their lives inside, both at home and at work. They’re surrounded by concrete, paint, furniture and screens.
Now why does Apple, Inc. include so much nature in their new campus or why do other large companies invest in interior ‘living walls’ or large fish tanks, outdoor patios etc.? Because it’s proven to increase happiness, mental health and in the end, productivity.
I am a huge believer in the mental and physical health benefits of nature. I grew up in nature, was almost always outside and explored as much as I could. I also brought in countless tanks with reptiles, fish and amphibians (my mom is a saint). As I grew up, I guess today’s expectations and society got to me and I lost touch with it. I didn’t know what I had until I lost it. That was until I read more books, especially The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age which discussed the Nature Deficit Disorder and the lack of ‘”Vitamin N”.
Now I try to include nature as much as I can in my daily life. One key thing I do is working out outside. This is the perfect way to reap the benefits and also get your training in. It’s 2 birds with one stone (although I don’t like that saying because I would never hit a bird). By taking your body weight, cardio or HIIT training outside, you can take advantage of the health benefits below.
Here are 10 amazing health benefits of spending time outside:
1. Give your mind a rest. Many great leaders and scientists have said that, after a short walk in the park, their mind thinks more clearly and more efficient.
2. Vitamin D: Being in the sunlight raises your natural Vitamin D levels. Don’t overdo it but it has been shown that even short time frames outside offers beneficial higher levels of it.
3. You may heal faster. Many studies have been performed on this. One tracked people who had gotten spine surgeries. They reported that they healed faster and needed less pain medication than the control group. Other studies have shown that patients in a hospital room with windows overlooking vegetation had similar results.
4. Concentration: Many people claim being outdoors helps them concentrate – I agree. It puts things in perspective and makes you focus on the thoughts better. Studies have also shown it can help kids with ADHD symptoms concentrate better.
5. It can lower blood pressure.
6. It can fight off depression.
7. It can improve your body’s immunity. A studio showed the women who spent six hours in the woods over the course of 2 days had an increase in virus and tumor fighting white blood cells.
8. Clean air: Inside air is just not that good for you. Go into nature and take advantage of Earth’s natural filtration system.
9. Be social: You don’t have to go in group but working out outdoors with someone else or in group might improve your social skills or strengthen your bond with that person.
10. Makes you feel more alive. Contrary what people believe, the human race is really not that old. Our ancestors spent every second in nature and had to survive. Thankfully for most of us saber tooth tigers and large predators are no longer an issue. However, we still have that basic instinct and nature is home. We aim to find balance in our lives but for many of us, today’s society feels unnatural. Therefore, try to get outside – it will help you find the balance.
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.