The warmth of the sun touches your skin, the greenery soothes your eyes and the fresh air makes you want to have more of it every day. Spending time outdoors is not only about relaxing your body and soul but it also makes you a much healthier person too.

It’s time you breakup with your treadmill and go hiking and here’s why:

  1. You amp your vitamin D levels

    Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for a reason. When sunlight hits your skin, your body commences a process where the liver and kidneys get involved, leading to the activation of vitamin D in the body. According to research, many vitamins are critical for the proper functioning of the human body but they may not be as potent at fighting diseases as vitamin D.

    Studies show that the positive effects of vitamin D in the body ranges from warding off depression and anxiety to reducing ones risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart attack and stroke.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to spend your time outdoors all day to enjoy the benefits of vitamin D and sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes of sun time a few times a week may just be more than enough.

    However, the downside is that the production of vitamin D is affected by a person’s age. For example, people who are in their 20s produce four times more vitamin D than people of age 65. Skin color also affects vitamin D production as African Americans have half the vitamin D levels on average in their blood than white Americans.

  2. You get fitter

    Most adults visit the gym to get fit, but if you limit your tube time and have leisurely walks outside; chances are that you’ll be a much fitter person in the long term.

    You don’t have to be outdoors to be fit or active. However, in most cases, people are sedentary indoors if they’re not exercising. This is especially true when it comes to children, particularly those who spend too much time watching television or playing videogames. When you spend time outdoors, you walk more. This increases your likelihood to exercise more which enhances your cardiovascular fitness.

  3. You’ll be a much happier person

    According to numerous studies, light has the ability to enhance a person’s mood. There is more natural light outside than inside your house. We also know that exercise is a surefire mood lifter, so when you exercise outdoors, you double the positive effects your body experiences. Just five minutes of outdoor green exercises can elevate self-esteem, mood and concentration, studies show.

  4. You improve your concentration

    Research shows that children with ADHD focus much better after they are given some outdoor time. One study which was published in 2008 discovered that kids with ADHD had higher concentration scores after walking in the park as opposed to walking in a residential area. Outdoor exercises can improve the condition.

    Although most studies have been conducted using children with ADHD, it can be safely said that outdoor activity can improve adult mental health as well, which includes better concentration. Therefore, if you are having trouble concentrating on something, be it work or your studies, some outdoor green activity can help you far better than a cup of coffee.

  5. It’s just good for you. Period.

    Just exposing your mind, body and soul to nature can improve your overall health. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2009, a person’s health increases as he spends more time with nature.

    Living closer to nature elevates your health level even more. The study looked at the medical records of 345,143 Dutch people. By assessing each individual’s level of health for 24 different conditions, which included their respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological conditions, the study found that each person’s health status was associated with how close to nature each person lived. People who lived closest to nature experienced less depression and anxiety according to the study.

It doesn’t matter if you live too far away from a green area; just get out start jogging in a park and you’ll feel much better, we promise!

Shomaila Issam

Shomaila is a fitness-loving, clean-eating, keyboard-stabbing bookworm. Being involved in a sedentary lifestyle, she enjoys releasing her frustration through exercise, especially Pilates, and sharing her thoughts via the interwebs.

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