Running? Cycling? Hanging out or eating out with friends? Camping? Beaching? Mountain Climbing? In these times of pandemic and lockdowns, what do you miss the most about going outdoors? Indeed, this global crisis has caused too much burden to people and will still continue to do so unless we find a cure.
Yet even before the pandemic, some of us actually don’t spend more time outdoors than we do at our homes. Why is this so? Well, we have different answers to that. But what we don’t really realize is how spending time away from our couch can bring many miracles to our health and well-being.
A research from the University of East Anglia is one proof of this, citing that “living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits.” Let’s have a closer look at what more spending time outdoors can do to make us healthier.
GREENSPACES REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING ILLNESS
An analysis comparing those with access and no access to these greenspaces suggests that the former is less likely to catch illnesses like type II diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, premature death, preterm birth, and sleep discomforts than the latter. Living close to greenspaces reduces stress which is commonly the root of all other diseases. The connection between nature man is indeed strong, although there is no clear research yet as to what that connection might be and how it works – it just works!
There is nothing calmer and more peaceful than communing with nature. In Japan, forest bathing is already a well-known practice where people spend time in forests either by just sitting down on benches admiring nature, lying down the green grass, or walking barefooted around the calming ambiance of the surroundings. For Japanese, forest bathing is a therapy in itself – letting nature heal both one’s body and mind.
STAYING IN SHAPE
Outdoor activities keep one’s body from sagging and losing bone and muscle mass. Outdoor activities such as running, calisthenics, jogging, cycling, hiking, among others, help our body stay in shape. You see, our body is like a machine; if we stop using it the way it should be, it starts to ‘rust,’ and that’s where problems like body aches and sores creep in. We need to keep our bones and muscles properly working from time to time to make sure they don’t rot.
Mental Health has become a serious, major, and mainstream talk in this generation. People finally realized the gravity of this problem and how it can have a ripple of effects on the person in question and those around them. Depression and anxiety are real and shouldn’t be taken lightly – even a simple, innocent shoulder shrug can claim a depressed person’s life.
Being outside exploring the world can aid a person suffering from his mental health. For example, running can be one of the best ways to pour out one’s pent-up emotions or calm one’s nerves. Seeing the greeneries and feeling the ocean breeze touching one’s skin can also uplift a person’s mood and lessen his/her anxiety. Some hospitals worldwide often take their patients for a walk on beaches to give that refreshing feel to them.
MAN IS A SOCIAL ANIMAL
No matter what our personality is, we will always have to rely on others to survive. Being outside gives us the chance to socialize (or improve our socializing skills if we suck at it). Socialization is an integral part of being a human, and the best part of it is that we can always do it our way. Being with others gives us a fresh perspective on things. When we have a positive outlook on life, we as well tend to live a more positive and healthier lifestyle.
Being outside gives us a lot of health gains – it is a given fact. Today’s pandemic taught us the importance of that, and now, there are limits to certain things that we usually do when we leave our doorsteps. When we find the cure and finally end this pandemic situation, will we finally get up from our couch and explore the outside? Because yes, the health benefits are just lying there up for grabs.