The Surprising Health Benefits Of Just Being Outdoors

When I’m in a bad mental health space, the last thing I want to do is leave the house. Home is where my bed is and bed is where I can sink into my apathy and disorientation without disruption from pesky things like other people and sunlight.

Of course, bed isn’t really always the answer. Not long-term anyway. Going outside, remembering there’s a whole world outside of my bedroom and my own miserable, anxious thoughts can be really helpful but what do I do? How do I help myself when I barely want to move?

Well, according to Usay Compare, even just being outside in a park or in nature can make a difference.

The health benefits of being outdoors

Increased vitamin D exposure

Usay Compare said: “Direct sunlight exposure aids in the body’s production of vitamin D. This essential nutrient promotes bone health and has been implicated in the prevention of multiple autoimmune and chronic diseases.”

Reduced stress and anxiety

Natural settings and green spaces are inherently very calming and studies have found that spending time in nature can significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

Additionally, the mental health charity Mind said: “Being outside in natural light can be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year.

“And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems.”

Enhanced cognitive function

Interacting with nature can boost your cognitive performance, particularly in areas such as concentration, problem-solving, and creativity. The stimuli provided by natural environments are thought to engage the brain in different and beneficial ways.

Improved sleep

A 2021 study found that time outside in the morning can improve sleep quality, and, conversely, less time spent outdoors can impair overall sleep quality. Poor sleep can lead to a range of health issues including impacts on mental health and the heart.

Brb, gotta step outside.