Isn't it funny that while I am writing an article on why it's good to be outdoors, I am doing it indoors in our office. Well, let’s get into it before heading out again for our camping trip tomorrow.
How's this for a staggering fact:
According to statistics, today's generation spend over 90% of our time indoors.
Today, playing outside seems to be a rarity rather than the norm. We are so connected online that we have lost our connection with the natural world and I don’t know about you, but to me, this is a concerning statistic affecting our future generation.
We were created to be in nature. When God created the world, He put Adam and Eve in the garden - not a house or an office. All of us at Outbound are passionate about inspiring families to get outdoors and here are the top 10 reasons why it is good to head outdoors (well, maybe after you have read the rest of this post)!
1. Stress Relief
This is definitely the main reason why it is good to be out in nature. Work pressures, busy lifestyle & family obligations can create unbearable stress for all of us, and the best remedy for it is to get out and go for a hike or ride. It helps create space to slow down and smell the roses (so to speak) and get back in touch with the natural rhythm of life.
2. Better Sleep
Melatonin and your natural circadian rhythms helps you sleep better. Both of these are affected by your exposure to light—sunlight, most of all. When we expose ourselves to too much unnatural light, especially “blue light” that comes from screens, our body will find it difficult to relax and rest.
3. Immunity Boost
Just like what we touch on in our article The Dirt On Dirt. Playing in dirt and nature helps develop natural immunity in our body. Science have proven that after breathing in natural “phytoncides” in the air—particles of a-pinene and limonene from the wood of the forest trees—a group of participants’ blood tests showed increased activity of natural killer cells. What was amazing was that the effects of increased immune function were still there 30 days after the walk!
4. Best Source Of Vitamin D
The key benefits of vitamin D is to help build our immune system, it helps reduce depression and it also boosts weight loss (https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#reduces-depression). So what is the best way to get Vitamin D besides eating truck loads of supplements or salmon and mushrooms? Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient. It’s so important to get outside and take in the sunshine. Just remember to apply sunscreen to block out the harmful UV rays.
5. Helps Focus
Our eyes are our vision to the world but the average person spends over half their waking hours on screens and devices, those hours staring at the screen are bad for your eyes. Scientists recently reported that particularly for children, too much time indoors can create irreversible changes in the eyes. An Australian study in 2007 found that children who spent more time outside were less likely to have myopia. More indoor time, on the other hand, was associated with greater rates of myopia in a related 2013 study. Time outdoors is also good for adult eyes. The more time we spend with the screen, the more likely we are to suffer dry eye syndrome. Letting the eyes focus on something more distant exercises different muscles and allows the eyes to relax and recover.
6. Creates Fun & Joy
It is a simple point, when we are out in nature, we tend to play, play is fun and when you have fun, you enjoy life which naturally leads to happiness. There is no healthier place to be than breathing fresh air in the rainforest or a mountain top! Go on, give it a go and you will be happier you did.
7. Provides Space For Deep & Meaningful Conversations
Time spent walking & talking with family and friends provides opportunity for the deepest connections to be made with one another. Being in the outdoors on a long hike or walk on the beach gives you uninterrupted moments to connect with each other. My fondest memories outdoors are of the conversations over the campfire at night with family and friends where you naturally engage in much deeper and meaningful thoughts.
8. Keeps Things In Perspective
One of the most humbling experiences for our family was when we were hiking in the 3 Cape walks in Tasmania and also during a hike in the Japanese Alps where you are surrounded by the majestic wonders of God’s creation. It reminds us of the resilience of nature, the beauty of God’s creation, how life doesn’t need to be complicated and we don’t need a lot to be happy. Treasure what is important and protect it.
9. Inspires Creativity
I work in the creative industry and when I need a boost of creativity and time to think, I naturally head for a hike or a fishing trip. It is during these times where you can think “outside the box” and look for inspiration from nature. Just look at how many types of flowers, trees, fish, animals and rock there are. There is is never a shortage of inspiration that you can draw from nature. Get out there and be inspired.
10. Get Moving
It's hard to keep still when you are out in nature, even when you are meditating or resting, your mind will be moving because there’s is so many stimulants in nature. When you are out, you feel the natural need to wander and explore and that is healthy movement for the mind and body. Remember not all who wander are lost.
Remember as always, stay safe!