4 Reasons to spend more time outdoors

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir

Next time someone tells you to ‘Take a hike’ – do it.

Research shows you’ll be glad you did. Recent studies have shown that experiencing nature has an increased benefit to our mind and body. Simply exposing yourself to the outdoors for only a day can give you vastly improved cardiovascular health, reduced stress, improved mood, and even a boost in creativity.

1: Improved Cardiovascular Health

John Muir was onto something, in today’s digital world we are distracted by so much digitally we forget to ‘unplug’ and get away for a while. Sitting is slowly killing us – we move less than we ever have and negative signs are showing. Studies show that by simply getting outside and walking you can improve your cardiovascular (heart) health. Simply walking can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Escaping to the woods, mountains, or even your local park to walk is a great and FREE dose of wellness. Think of how much a weekend camping trip to the mountains could do for your wellness.

2: Reduced Stress

There’s something about being in a natural setting that reduces stress and anxiety. One of our strongest sensory receptors is our sense of smell. There is evidence that sense of smell has a lot to do with the boost in our mood. In fact, forest air has been shown to lower depression and anxiety. Other smells you might encounter in the wild like lavender, roses, and jasmine induce a sense of calm. The smell of a forest combined with the reduced distractions and noise make the peace and quiet of nature quite powerful.

3. Improved Mood

Those with inverted work schedules who sleep during the day and work at night are highly likely to experience a Vitamin D deficiency. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to negative thoughts and impaired judgement. Exposure to light tends to elevate people’s mood – especially light from being outdoors. It all starts on the chemical level – as our skin is exposed to the sun the circuitous process begins. The liver and kidneys activate and that eventually creates the active form of the vitamin. What else could cause this increased mood? A UK-based study found that the colors green and blue – both experienced heavily in nature may be the reason. Both colors are know as calming colors.

4. Creative Boost

As previously mentioned, viewing colors in the green blue spectrum also have an impact on our creativity. A study by a doctor in Munich found that the the color green is a signal of growth. Dr. Stephanie Lichtenfeld notes, “Green may serve as a cue that evokes the motivation to strive for improvement and task mastery, which in turn may facilitate growth.” An increase in brain function frees up brain activity allowing for a boost in creative thinking. Next time you are experiencing some ‘creative block’ load up and head outdoors.

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