Outdoor Adventures: 15 Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature

Many of us struggle during the long winter months. We want to get outside and enjoy fresh air, but the cold and fewer hours of daylight deter us.

With warmer temperatures on the way, it’s a good idea to remind ourselves of the health benefits of getting outdoors. Some are physical boosts, but getting outside can also improve our mental health.

The list contains a mix of benefits in both areas, but each is linked to nature and provides an advantage to our well-being.

1. A Better Night’s Sleep

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We all crave it, so what better way to start a healthier routine than getting a good night’s sleep? Our body clocks are naturally tuned to the day and night flow, so we should feel more sleepy when darkness falls.

We can enhance those feelings by getting outdoors in the sunshine — using adequate protection, of course. There are no guarantees of a good night’s sleep, but by doing this, we give our bodies a better chance of sleeping well.

2. A Positive Start to the Day

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Experts recommend getting outdoors as part of a regular morning routine. Opening the curtains and letting daylight in offers a welcome mental boost if time is limited.

Sunlight helps us regulate our body clocks, which can offer an essential prelude to that restful night’s sleep we crave.

3. More Effective Exercise

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Gyms will always have a place, but the outdoors is an excellent setting for your exercise routine. Research shows that people who walk outside do so with higher intensity levels but less physical exertion.

Exercising outdoors can also be more sociable. You can meet up with friends and chat without the restrictions of the gym, which may have strict rules about talking to other people.

4. An All Round Body Workout

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Even if you just walk gently or sit outdoors for periods, your body will thank you. Nature’s soothing effects can help reduce muscle tension while lowering blood pressure and regulating heart rate.

Outdoor adventures are tough to beat as a workout for the body and mind. They offer a tune-up for many of our internal systems.

5. Lowering Stress and Anxiety

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Having a green space in your home or within walking distance is linked to better mental health. This factor is shown to help reduce anxiety, depression, and anger.

We feel much calmer when out in the open, as opposed to being isolated indoors, and these are the first great benefits for our mental health.

6. Fighting Disease

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Being outdoors can also help us fight disease. Remember the days of COVID-19 and how germs dissipated when we got out in the open air? We were more vulnerable when we were indoors with more people sharing our space.

Nature can also help us develop a more robust immune system. We may breathe in tiny microbes released by plants known as phytoncides, which studies show boost our immune function.

7. Achieve New Targets

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Certain outdoor hobbies, such as gardening, can be highly satisfying. You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow beautiful plants and create a striking landscape in your yard.

It’s also possible to grow fruit and vegetables, and there’s nothing like homegrown produce to improve a meal. Such projects provide a great sense of achievement, which is another excellent health advantage nature offers.

8. Develop New Interests

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Spending time outdoors could also give you ideas for new hobbies and interests. You may enjoy watching and listening to the local wildlife, which might inspire you to take up birdwatching. Perhaps you’ll meet some people using metal detectors and decide to get involved.

New hobbies offer a range of benefits for our mental health. If you need ideas, a walk outside can provide plenty of suggestions.

9. Greater Motivation

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Whatever health benefits you may be looking for, spending time outdoors can provide greater motivation to reach those targets. Exercise helps you feel better physically over time, and you may get a greater determination to lose weight.

Lifting stress and depression is beautiful, and you may naturally feel drawn to spending more time outdoors. Motivation can also improve other aspects of your life, and that’s something we can all enjoy.

10. Increased Vitamin D Levels

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Vitamin D is a fantastic supplement that boosts physical and mental health. It’s naturally provided by sunlight and is essential for brain health, improving mood, and lifting depression.

The vitamin also boosts energy levels and helps our bodies absorb calcium, strengthening bones and enhancing our immune system. It’s a brilliant all-around vitamin, and sunlight is its best natural source.

11. Become More Sociable in the Great Outdoors

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Those who live alone can eliminate feelings of isolation by getting outdoors. You may meet people who share your hobbies and interests and forge new friendships.

All the incredible health benefits mentioned here can be enjoyed while alleviating loneliness. Walking, running, and birdwatching clubs are just three examples of hobbies that have societies happy to welcome new members.

12. A Mental Reset

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There are good reasons why more of us are looking to go “off-grid.” It’s a tough challenge, but leaving your smartphone at home for a few hours offers excellent mental benefits.

Many areas of our lives provide overstimulation. Phones are mainly responsible, but TVs and other information platforms also play their part. There’s just too much information out there, but spending a few hours in nature helps to provide a mental reset.

13. Greater Creativity

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The soothing effect of nature and the outdoors’ ability to reset our minds leaves a path for more positive factors. Many find they are more creative after spending time outside, and it’s no coincidence that writers and artists take a quick walk outside to cure the dreaded mental block.

You may find yourself feeling more creative, which could help in all areas of your life, from your work to starting a new hobby or business.

14. Greater Problem-Solving Potential

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With less mental clutter in your head, you may find a solution to a problem that’s bothered you for a while. Once again, the release from the over-stimulation of smartphones and other devices leaves space for new and more productive thoughts.

There are no guarantees you’ll solve every problem by getting out into nature, but the lack of clutter is more likely to provide positive thoughts and solutions.

15. A Longer Life

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It may not be something you automatically consider, but being outdoors may help you live longer. Studies have shown that people living close to parks and other outdoor spaces are less likely to pick up chronic diseases and enjoy longer life spans on average.

There are no solid guarantees, but it can be comforting to know that increased exposure to nature can lead to a longer, healthier life.

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