Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Do We Instinctively Spend More Time Outside In The Summer?

This time of year might be one of your favorite seasons.  Summer (in the northern hemisphere) has arrived!  Spending time outside seems much more inviting.  The weather is warmer, our moods are uplifted, we aren't weighed down by heavy clothing,  we have a need to increase our physical activity, we feel healthier, our motivations increase, our senses are heightened and we instinctively crave to spend MUCH more time outdoors.

There are countless reasons why we are drawn to spend time outdoors.  Research has proven the benefits of spending time outside and WHY we NEED to be outside.  Below are four simple reasons why our primal instincts kick in and signal our brain to get out into nature on a regular basis.


Me getting my shot of Vitamin D on May 20, 2015
(Yes, that is snow on the ground)
Vitamin D - Our bodies need vitamin D to help process calcium.  Calcium is what helps our bones grow and stay strong.  Without sufficient vitamin D we are at greater risk for breast cancer, colon cancer, depression, weight gain, osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few.  The sun's rays are strongest in the northern hemisphere this time of year, so expose your skin to the sun (yes really) and get your daily shot of vitamin D today!

Mental Health - Studies have shown people who spend more time outside have a much healthier and happier mental state.  Why do you think eco-therapy and wilderness therapy are growing industries? Exploring nature and being aware of our surrounds has a calming effect on most people.  It's also healthy to push our comfort levels to try new outdoor adventures and expand our confidence.  Being outside gives us a sense of freedom and enlightenment.

Grounding or Earthing - Grounding is a way to connect to the earth's energy and pulse of her heart. Sitting in the ground, walking barefoot, sleeping on the ground at night are all simple ways to re-energize yourself.  This can help clear your mind to improve your focus and creativity.  Try grounding for 15 minutes per day for a week and see how you feel on day seven.

Physical Well Being - When we play outside we improve our balance by walking on uneven ground. We exercise more by playing sports, gardening, outdoor recreating, exploring and just romping around.  Even just breathing clearer air free of indoor toxins, can help your lungs and healthy body status.  With the increase of exercise, your sleep should improve as well.

What if we didn't spend time outdoors?  What would happen to us then?  How sad.  Watch the below video to learn more about what would happen if you stopped going outside.

If you'd like to learn more about how a lack of spending time in nature impacts us, check out Nature Deficit Disorder.