How much time do you spend outside of a building vs. indoors? If you are like most, you spend a whole lot more time inside.
Humans aren’t meant to be indoor animals. It is not good for us to be inside all of the time. Yet most people in developed countries spend most of their days indoors.
Why should you take time to be outside? Below are 6 reasons:
Find your place in the universe.
Being outdoors helps you understand your place in the universe. You feel closer to the earth, its plants, animals, winds, tides, mountains, hills, valleys and streams. It helps you realize that you belong to the Earth’s systems – it helps you be one with the Earth.
Being part of the natural world teaches us that we are part of a natural system which includes the entire Earth and all of its systems.
An article in the American Psychological Association ‘Getting Back to the Great Outdoors‘ quoted Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit-Disorder” (Algonquin Books, 2005) as saying “Beyond the health and cognitive benefits children may gain from free and unstructured play outdoors, nature also provides them with a sense of wonder and a deeper understanding of our responsibility to take care of the Earth. Yet increasingly, nature is the last place you’ll find children, research shows.”
Lose your daily problems.
Your daily problems fade when confronted with the splendor and enormity of nature. Being outside helps you meditate on the beauty and complexity of nature and lifts you out of yourself and your man made problems, and may even heal physical ailments sooner.
The Daily Mail reported that Professor Roger Ulrich, a leading expert in the benefits of natural green space noted that hospital patients who had a room with a natural view went home 2 – 3 days before patients that had a room with a view of buildings.
Studies, again by Professor Roger Ulrich, prove that heart rate and blood pressure drop faster if stressed people are in a natural surroundings as opposed to indoors. Feeling the wind on your cheek, letting your eyes scan the distance, hearing the water in the stream and the birds in the trees gets us outside of ourselves, helping us forget our stressors.
The very best source of vitamin D is natural sunshine – obtained outdoors.
Physical movement feels good and is good for you. Outdoor exercise is more physically challenging and mentally stimulating than indoor exercise. When you are outside, you do more and enjoy it more. Your children get more exercise, mentally and physically. They become more fit and creative if they get nature time outdoors.
Being outdoors enlivens your senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and hearing. You have an increased ability to focus after returning indoors.
In the article, “Great Outdoors – 6 Benefits for Kids iVillage quoted the American Journal of Public Health as saying “exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.”
Celebrate the day.
Of course we have a special day, National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) here in America to encourage folks to get outside. This year it is June 9. On that day federal agencies, non-profit organizations and recreational organizations are teaming up to offer information and activities across the nation.
According to the National Get Outdoors Organization website:
” The pilot effort of National Get Outdoors Day was launched on June 14, 2008. Building on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other important efforts to connect Americans – and especially children – with nature and active lifestyles, the USDA Forest Service (FS) and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) agreed to lead an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors.”
How much time do you spend outside? How about your kids? What kinds of things do you like to do and what kinds of benefits have you found?