The MET Office tells us that there’s a heatwave on the way. Do you need any more excuse to get out into the sunshine? Probably not, but just in case you do, here are our top five reasons to spend more time outside.
The more time you spend outside during the day, the better you’ll sleep at night. That’s just science. How does it work? Well, for a start, natural light is great for balancing out your natural rhythms. Exposing yourself to lots of natural light during the day primes your brain to make you sleepy come bedtime. Then there’s the fact that outdoor time often involves more exercise than indoor time. Tiring yourself out is always a good way to improve your sleep!
Improve your mental health
There have been loads of studies into natural environments and mental health, and they’ve all come up with the same conclusion: spending time outside is good for your mental health. The outdoors can boost your mood, reduce anxiety, combat depression, increase self-esteem, help you to relax, and destroy stress. Nobody’s really sure why this is the case (although there are a ton of theories!), but the evidence is indisputable: if you’re struggling with your mental health, spending time outside really can help.
Top up your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, but many of us don’t get enough of it. Which is a shame, seeing as Vitamin D is totally free and pretty easy to come by. Vitamin D is produced when the sun hits our skin – and you don’t even need much sun exposure to top off your D levels. Wandering about for twenty minutes in a t-shirt will do it, even on a cloudy day! Vitamin D is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and muscles, so it’s well worth going for a sunny stroll every now and again.
Blank page blinking at you? Struggling to knuckle down? Go for a wander, and find your focus. It really works! Studies on children with attention-deficit disorders have found that their symptoms decreased and their concentration markedly increased following time spent playing outside. While climbing trees and having mud-fights may not be your thing, simply getting a breath of fresh air can still have much the same effect. Get outside, clear your head, and send procrastination packing.
It’s easy to stagnate indoors. There are comfy seats, warm rooms, TVs, books, the internet...nothing simpler than to flop onto a sofa and screengaze your fitness goals into oblivion. Outside, however, it’s a different story. With fewer distractions (and lots more room) it’s easier to get moving. Something as simple as a walk in the park can be great for improving your fitness levels, but taking it up a notch with running or rock climbing or even free-swimming is very possible. Even better – outdoor fitness is free!