Spending time outside in nature is good for your body and your mind — and this claim is even backed up by a whole lot of science.
There’s no better place to work up a sweat than the great outdoors, and there’s no better place to spend time outside than in Colorado. If you want to learn more about how spending time in nature benefits your physical and mental health, keep reading! The next time you’re tempted to skip your daily outdoor excursion, remember these facts and watch your motivation come right back.
Many scientific studies suggest that vitamin D can help combat osteoporosis, certain cancers, depression, and reduce heart attack risk. When your skin is exposed to the sun’s rays, it triggers the process that leads to the creation and activation of this important vitamin.
So head outside and let the sun shine down on your body — just don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
Being outside can help you concentrate better. One study measured the effects of natural settings on children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Outdoor activities reduced symptoms significantly and concentration levels improved across the board.
Heading outside can help you tap into your creativity. Research published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that walking improved creativity in the study’s participants. You could walk indoors on a track or treadmill and feel similar effects, but spending time outside was found to have an even greater impact on creative thinking.
Not sure where to walk? Try one of these Top 5 Scenic Trails on Colorado’s Western Slope — these trails are bound to get you inspired to spend some time walking and reflecting in nature.
Taking a walk outside can even give your mind an energy boost that’s similar to drinking a cup of coffee. One study found that taking a 10 minute walk outside is more energizing than consuming 50 milligrams of caffeine.
Getting outside also helps reduce stress levels. According to Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon, “Just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress … I don’t think anyone understands why, but there’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate.”
Nature is also full of calming scents. Pine, for example, has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
People who spend time outside are more likely to live active lifestyles — it’s hard to sit around when you’re playing outside! Exercising also releases feel-good endorphins, and the effects can be especially satisfying when you combine them with time spent in nature.
Whether you go for a quick stroll or tear down the roads and trails on your bike, try to spend as much time as you can outside. Your body and mind will thank you!