Take it outside

It may be winter here in Australia and as cold as it is its still time to put down the remote control, turn off the iPad, and pop your mobile phone on airplane mode..

Rug up, fill up the thermas with a nice warm drink and go and play outside. Your body and your mind will thank you for it. Hibernation is not the answer and it will not make summer come any faster and it also won’t make the next season of Game of Thrones come around any sooner. Sorry folks!

Here’s 5 reason’s to get your butt outside and become one with nature rain, hail or shine:

1. Boost Your Creativity and Focus

If you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with a brilliant idea, take a walk outside. One study found walking increased 81 percent of participants’ creativity, but walking outside produced “the most novel and highest quality analogies.” Meanwhile, spending time in nature leads to improvements in focus and higher scores on concentration tests.

2. Improve Your Mood and Self-Esteem

“Green exercise,” which is exercise in the presence of nature, has unique benefits above and beyond indoor exercise. One meta-analysis of 10 studies found that physical activity outdoors for as little as five minutes leads to measurable improvements in mood and self-esteem.

Spending time outdoors is also a recommended treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is sometimes called “winter depression.” Outdoor light exposure may help your mood even if it’s cold and cloudy. According to the Mayo Clinic: “Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.” 

   3. Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Researchers have noted that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in adults of all ages who have increased skin pigmentation (such as those whose ancestors are from Africa, the Middle East, or India), or who always wear sun protection or limit their outdoor activities.

Increasing your vitamin D levels is important, as researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year.

Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.

4. Improve Your Workouts

As mentioned, exercising outdoors yields increased benefits over indoor exercise. In addition to boosting your mood, outdoor exercise can be more challenging, leading to greater physical gains. For instance, if you walk, jog, or cycle outdoors, you’ll have to expend more energy to overcome wind and changes in terrain.

Among older adults (a population that generally tends to spend very little time outdoors), those who exercise outdoors accumulated significantly more physical activity than those who exercised indoors. There’s even research showing levels of the stress hormone cortisol are lower when people exercise outdoors as opposed to indoors.

5. Healing Potential – My favourite!

There’s something inherently healing about spending time outdoors. Part of it has to do with exposure to natural light. One study found people exposed to 46 percent more sunlight after surgery used 22 percent less pain medication per hour.

However, there are likely benefits even beyond the light exposure. Research shows, for instance, that older adults who spend more time outdoors have less pain, sleep better and have less functional decline in their ability to carry out their daily activities.

So what are you still doing inside? Go on? Get!