Health Benefits of Spending Time Outside

by Barry Hill

Spending time outside.

Today, more people live in cities than in open rural spaces than at any time in history. In addition, we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. Yet, spending time outside can be a quick and effective stress buster, mood lifter and overall health booster.

Now that warmer weather is making an appearance, make it a point to spend more time outdoors. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you’re likely to be.

What does being outside do for you?

  • The production of Vitamin D is triggered by sunlight. This crucial vitamin has been shown to prevent cancer, obesity, inflammation, hormonal problems and to boost your immune system.
  • Time spent outdoors also has a tendency to increase your quality of sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and awake feeling more refreshed.
  • Natural sunlight helps to regulate your internal clock and normalize hormonal functions.
  • The color green has long been believed to have a healing effect on the body.

Being outside naturally helps you to relax, disconnect from worries and achieve a clearer state of mind. Even 5 minutes sitting outdoors can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and mood.

Better yet, exercise outside to ramp up the benefits of both exercise and being outside. Studies by researchers in England and Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting with trees, foliage and landscape views feel more restored, and less anxious, angry and depressed than those runners who burn the same amount of calories in gyms or other urban settings. So even if you have to drive a few miles to find a little green, here at Fit After Fifty think it’s worth it!

The infographic below outlines the negative effects of our disconnect with nature. Click on it to view a larger version.

The benefits of spending time outside.



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