A walk in the woods might just be what the doctor of the future may prescribe to you! Yes, there’s now plenty of documented evidence on the mental and physiological benefits of going outdoors. According to a recent study, just one weekend in the woods will automatically reset your inner clock (or circadian rhythm) which help you sleep better. Another study found that walking 90 minutes in nature decreases activity in a key region of the brain associated with depression. Mood enhancing benefits of spending time in the ocean were highlighted on our blog post titled “Why You Need a Holiday at the Beach.” We also explored the many aspects involved in boosting our immunity during an outbreak here.
Follow the Workout.lk Facebook page for upcoming outdoor retreats we are organizing too!
Read up on a few more health benefits of going outdoors on this article by Harvard Health…
“1. Your vitamin D levels will go up
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because sunlight hitting the skin begins the circuitous process — the liver and kidneys get involved — that eventually leads to the creation of the biologically active form of the vitamin. Over all, research is showing that many vitamins, while necessary, don’t have such great disease-fighting powers, but vitamin D may prove to be the exception. Epidemiologic studies are suggesting it may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. Even by conventional standards, many Americans don’t have enough vitamin D circulating in their bodies. The good news is that you’ll make all the vitamin D you need if you get outside a few times a week and expose your arms and legs for 15 to 25 minutes. Of course, it has to be sunny out.
There are some snags. Vitamin D production is affected by age (people ages 65 and over generate about a fourth as much as people in their 20s) and skin color (African Americans have, on average, about half the levels of vitamin D in their blood as white Americans).
2. You’ll get more exercise
According to some surveys, American children spend an average of 6 hours a day with electronic media (video games, television, and so on), time that is spent mainly indoors and sitting down. British researchers used Global Positioning System devices and accelerometers, which sense movement, to track the activity of 1,000 children. They found that the children were more than doubly active when they were outside.
Adults can go to the gym. Many prefer the controlled environment there. But if you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking, biking, gardening, cleaning up the yard, and doing other things that put the body in motion.
3. You’ll be happier (especially if your exercise is ‘green’)
Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and unless you live in a glass house or are using a light box to treat seasonal affective disorder, there’s usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to relax and cheer people up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles and laughter.
Researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Their investigations into “green exercise,” as they are calling it, dovetails with research showing benefits from living in proximity to green, open spaces.
In 2010 the English scientists reported results from a meta-analysis of their own studies that showed just five minutes of green exercise resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood.
4. Your concentration will improve
Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in his 2008 book Last Child in the Woods. It’s a play on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers have, in fact, reported that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. A study published in 2008 found that children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after a walk through a park than after a walk through a residential neighborhood or downtown area. Other ADHD studies have also suggested that outdoor exercise could have positive effects on the condition. Truth be told, this research has been done in children, so it’s a stretch to say it applies to adults, even those who have an ADHD diagnosis. But if you have trouble concentrating — as many do — you might see if some outdoor activity, the greener the better, helps.
5. You may heal faster
University of Pittsburgh researchers reported in 2005 that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) had an effect on patient recovery. Of course, windows and views are different than actually being outside, but we’re betting that adding a little fresh air to the equation couldn’t hurt and might help.”
Inspired to go outdoors? Explore what Workout.lk SERVICES can offer you too. We are big advocates of outdoor activity, and since 2018 been organizing public and private group retreats to get us back to nature!
As the first and only independent platform that unites partners from the health and fitness eco-system across Sri Lanka, we are in a unique position to curate credible and innovative programs for your unique staff requirements. Whether it is a de-stressing Pranayama/Yoga session, a self-defense/creative dance workshop that synergize the team, or an informative talk that catalyzes your staff into healthy lifestyle and dietary modifications, we are able to offer your organization a program unmatched by any other.
Want to experience a unique healthy journey with your friends or colleagues? A relaxing beach retreat, an outdoor excursion immersing yourself in nature while experiencing fun adrenaline games?
Wherever your interests and objective lie, we can offer a unique program tailor-made for you and your group. Give us a call on 077 733 7430 and we’ll sort out the rest! Follow the Workout.lk Facebook page for upcoming outdoor retreats we are organizing too!