Get Up and Get Out: Why You NEED Outside Time
As humanity careens ever forward through the dusty landscape of technology, we have made it possible to live and die inside of a concrete box. With jobs that only require a login from a remote computer, services that allow us to order everything from mattresses to groceries with a few clicks, and entire social circles contained within a single website, no one has to leave their home or even share air with another human being. Take away the computers, and you're in a Supermax prison of your own design.
Now, more than ever before in human history, human interaction with nature requires effort. In a society where we strive for effortless existence, we often make excuses for not making the effort. We convince ourselves that staying in bed is better. This is a huge mistake, and science backs it up. Here's why you need outside time, according to research.
Walking in Nature Can Improve Memory
Cityscapes are full of things demanding our attention. Whether it's avoiding getting hit by a car or the plethora of lines making up the buildings around us, there is constantly something to grab our thoughts and hold them when we're navingating the streets and sidewalks. Walking in nature is different. We relax, breathe deeply, and look around with no agenda. Being in such an environment has been shown to increase short term memory, according to an article published in Psychological Science. If you're trying to solidify a thought or concept, a quick walk on a trail may be the perfect solution.
The Sun Helps Your Body Make Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. It combats depression and helps the body absorb calcium properly. It's also one of the easiest vitamins to come by. Just ten minutes outside can create 10,000 international units of it. Granted, this measurement is for a fair person wearing shorts and a tank top — the darker the skin tone, the less vitamin D produced — but it's still pretty significant considering the human body only needs around 200 IUs a day.
Going Outdoors Increases Exercise
Not often do we go outside and just sit. When we think of going outdoors, we think of hiking, running, and biking. Just the act of going outside to clear your head increases the chance that you will get some physical activity. A ten-minute walk in the sunshine, and you'll get some definitive benefits of the outdoors, even if you're in the city. After all, even a little movement is always better than none.
It's All About the Green
Green is a powerful color. According to ColorPsychology.org, the color green can trigger feelings of renewal and calm. This makes time outside a powerful addition to any work day or workout. You can get a short walk in over the lunch hour and reset your nervous system at the same time, making that sticky problem you can't think your way out of that much easier to solve.
We continue trending toward a sedentary lifestyle, penned in by walls, leading to heart disease and obesity, as studies the world over have shown time and time again. With just a few small changes, your life can include more of the outdoors than you think. Keep your walking shoes by the door and get outside everyday for even a short interval or two, and you'll enjoy better health and more clarity.