How the Great Outdoors Improve Your Health December 22 2014
America's vast and diverse natural beauty has long been the outdoors alluring to millions of people across the nation. From hiking and camping, to rafting and hunting, there is something for everyone to enjoy
In addition to the fun and leisure that comes with outdoor activities, there is growing scientific evidence that spending time in nature – whether at the park or in the wilderness – can have major positive effect on your health.
The following are some of the many benefits that the outdoors can offer, according to studies at Harvard and elsewhere:
Boosting Vitamin D Production
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because exposure to sunlight increases its levels. It offers a wide range of disease-fighting capabilities, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart disease. Unfortunately, most Americans do not get enough of it, even though it is easy to: just going outside a few times a week for 10 to 15 minutes (especially on a sunny day) is usually enough to get the amount you need. Just keep in mind that staying out any longer should entail wearing sunscreen.
Increasing Physical Health
Although it is possible to workout at home or at a gym, various surveys have found that time outdoors is more encouraging to physical activity, especially for children. In fact, one study showed that kids who spent more time outside tended to be twice as active as usual. People of all ages are more likely to be active in the stimulating and varied atmosphere offered by the outdoors, whether it is hiking, jogging, or taking a stroll through a park. Moreover, outside activities can often be incorporated with useful tasks, like landscaping, gardening, or yard work.
Improving Your Mood
Exposure to light, especially the natural kind, has been shown to improve one’s mood and promote more positive emotions. Physical activity in a natural environment has a similar impact, boosting the production of hormones that reduce depression and stress. Randomized trials in the U.K. showed that even a mere five minutes of outdoor exercise was enough to alleviated negative emotions. In the long-term, regular periods of outdoor time can lead to major boosts in your mood and outlook.
Research shows that those with ADHD demonstrate greater focus after some time outdoors; in fact, many performed better on a test of concentration after a walk through a park. Though such studies have been limited to children, there are great implications for adults with or without ADHD: going outdoors, even briefly, provides an opportunity to clear your head and recollect your thoughts, especially during busy or stressful times.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh researchers reported that spinal surgery patients endured less pain and stress, and needed fewer pain medications, when exposed to natural light. Another showed that even having a view of nature from inside the room speed up recovery. Many hospitals feature courtyards and tranquility spaces precisely because such time outdoors, whenever possible, can mitigate the pain and strain of recovery. A Japanese study showed that immune systems were more potent following a walk through a forest or park.
Whether you are an outdoors enthusiast or simply enjoy the occasional foray into the local park, you now have many great reasons to increase your time outside. Snow Lizard Products like the SLXtreme line of Rugged Phone Cases, or the reliable SLXtreme Belt Clip, will make your outdoor adventures even easier to pursue.
To learn more, contact 786-401-7204 or email info@SnowLizardProducts.com.