Summer is synonymous with the great outdoors. After a long winter (for many) and a chilly spring, the warmth gives a welcomed sense of rejuvenation. Many of us are heading out to explore other parts of the world, country or even within our own neighborhoods. Whether you live by the beach, in the city, in the country or in the suburbs, making it a point to trade air conditioning and wi-fi for fresh air and sunshine should be topping your to-do list.
Catching some rays results in a lot more goodness than a tan (although we’re here for that, too!). In fact, a study published in 2019 by researchers in the UK found that spending at least 120 minutes per week in nature (that’s only about 17 minutes a day!) is associated with good health. The benefits that can potentially come from spending more time outside range from improved immunity to feeling happier and sleeping better.
Here are 5 ways a little extra sun can boost your overall wellbeing:
Clear out the brain fog by stepping outside for an afternoon walk. The increased levels of oxygen improve your brain function so you can have more energy and be more productive. Win/win!
There’s a reason we’ve been hearing about Vitamin D so much for the last two years. In addition to helping support your immune system by protecting you against infections, it also reduces inflammation, promotes cell growth, strong bones and teeth.
Insomnia killin’ your vibe? Exposure to sunlight early in the day can help reset your circadian rhythm (the fancy term for your internal clock). Sunlight triggers melatonin production which is a chemical that helps you fall asleep easier and get better zzz’s.
Lower Blood Pressure
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body releases an important molecule called nitric oxide which causes blood vessels to widen as it moves into the bloodstream. This results in a decrease in blood pressure and increase in blood flow to the heart.
It’s true, getting outside really does make you feel happier! Sunlight helps increase production of the hormone serotonin, which is responsible for stabilizing your mood.
It’s easy to see why prioritizing outdoor time should be an essential aspect of your wellness regimen. We know our body is an interconnected series of functions that work together – when one thing is off balance it impacts all the others. The health benefits from spending more time in nature mentioned above can affect how you eat and exercise, especially when it comes to getting better sleep and feeling good overall.
Finding ways to get out more doesn’t have to be a big production either. It can be as simple as taking small steps to incorporate it into your daily life. Put on some sunscreen and head out for a short walk each day in between tasks or meetings, set up your laptop on your patio for an hour or two, opt for a coffee shop or restaurant with outdoor seating, or meet up with a friend for a social hike. Get creative as to how you can make spending more time outside part of your routine.
How will you be making the most of the outdoors this summer? Check in with your coach for more personalized ideas and be sure to share your favorite alfresco activities with us by tagging @strongeru on Facebook or Instagram.