10 Scientific Outdoor Health Facts

Most people are well aware of the anecdotal healing power that being outdoors brings to our emotional, physical and even mental well-being. Our friends post photos of the sunset with captions that claim their “soul needed that”, our parents have long spoken about the power of Vitamin D; but what do these things actually mean? What are the cold hard scientific benefits of being in fresh air? Below is a curated list of the top 10 powers of the outdoors.

Best towel for hiking

1. Increased Immunity

Research has shown that certain chemicals produced by plants increase humans white blood cell count when we breathe fresh air. Not to mention the cardiovascular benefits that you are getting from whatever outdoor activity you are participating in!

2. Improves Brain Function

You probably already know that oxygen is critical to maintain brain health and development, but do you know why? The fresh air of the outdoors sends oxygen through your blood to your brain along with enabling your lungs to operate at full capacity. The more oxygen going to your brain, the better your brain performs!

Minaret Adventure Blog Post

3. Prolonged Focus and Concentration

This is one of the many benefits of improved brain function. It has been proven that spending time outside actually improves your concentration and focus throughout the rest of the day.

4. Heat from Sunlight Naturally Reduces Pain

Feeling crampy and achy? Much like a targeted heating pad on sore muscles, the heat from the sun can reduce minor aches and pains.

Minaret Outdoor Gear in Yosemite

5. Aromatherapy Reduces Stress

Is there anything better than the smell of crisp fresh air, pine trees, or salt water? This ties into the abundance of oxygen and clean air outside. Natural scents like these are directly linked to reduced anxiety and feelings of calmness.

6. Helps Relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder

Doctors have noted that regardless of what the weather is like, spending time outside, even if it is cold and grey, can reduce the effects of SAD- seasonal affective disorder. Some of the impacts of SAD are depression, anxiety, and a lack of concentration. Obviously sunshine is the best cure, but it helps to know that even simple fresh air can aid in reducing symptoms of SAD!

Outdoor Adventure Blog Photo

7. Drops in Cortisol Reduce Anxiety and Lower Blood Pressure

Cortisol is the stress hormone, and there is evidence to support that being outside for 20 minutes a day is linked with lower & healthy cortisol levels.

8. Enhanced Creativity

Studies show that people are generally more creative when they are walking or engaging in daily activity outside. The activity is said to enhance your cognitive abilities.

Cold Water Surf Blog

9. Vitamin D Supports Nerve Growth

In our body, the presence of Vitamin D acts as a neuro compound that is responsible for regulating the development of the nervous system, and is commonly used in treatments of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimers.

10. Reduces Chance of Developing Nearsightedness

The sun casts out UV-B sun rays, which trigger the release of dopamine in the retina and circulate vitamin D. These things work together to protect the eyes from growing in a way that causes nearsightedness. Don’t stare into the sun though!

Oregon Coast with Minaret Team

Conclusion

The next time you go to hit the snooze button on your alarm, remember these 10 benefits of taking that extra half an hour in the morning to kickstart your day and body. You could even get more creative and pack a compact microfiber towel for some morning outdoor yoga on the beach or in a grassy park!

We would love if you shared this or left us a comment below if you found anything interesting or useful :)

Sources:

Berman MG, Jonides J, Kaplan S. The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychol Sci. 2008;19(12):1207-12.
Driessnack M. Ask the expert. Children and nature-deficit disorder. J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2009;14(1):73-5.
Lauren F Friedman and Kevin Loria. “11 scientific reasons you should be spending more time outside.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 22 Apr. 2016.
Haile, Rahawa. “’Forest Bathing’: How Microdosing on Nature Can Help With Stress.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 30 June 2017.
“How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?” Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.
Maas J, Verheij RA, Groenewegen PP, De vries S, Spreeuwenberg P. Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006;60(7):587-92.
Mao GX, Lan XG, Cao YB, et al. Effects of short-term forest bathing on human health in a broad-leaved evergreen forest in Zhejiang Province, China. Biomed Environ Sci. 2012;25(3):317-24.
“Professional Practice.” Health Benefits of Nature.
Taylor AF, Kuo FE. Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park. J Atten Disord. 2009;12(5):402-9.
Tennessen CM, Cimprich B. Views to nature: Effects on attention. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 1995;15(1):77-85.
“This Is Your Brain on Nature.” National Geographic, 7 June 2017.
Kimie Nakagawa. Effect of vitamin D on the nervous system and the skeletal muscle. Clin Calcium. 2006 Jul;16(7):1182-87.
Richard Ryan. Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows. June 3, 2010.
4 Reasons Why Walking Outside Benefits the Brain. June 19, 2020.

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  • I felt your post was extremely well written and gave me a sense of calmness which is helpful to me getting outdoors and not relying on the treadmill too much!

    Bob Hawkins on

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