Spending Time Outdoors Is Good For Your Health

PC: Gideon Haden Chomphosy

Spring is one of the best seasons to get outdoors and experience nature. There’s a freshness in the air and evidence of new life everywhere you look. Birds are singing to one another, buds and blossoms are popping up on trees and bushes, and little patches of green are slowly spreading over everything. The prime temperatures and the beauty of spring lend themselves to hiking, camping, and time on the water. Outdoor recreation is undoubtedly fun, but there’s another reason you should get outside. Spending time outdoors is good for your health!

Physical activity

Spending time outdoors means less time sitting indoors. A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for depression, anxiety, obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and a number of other health problems. Exercise and physical activities – such as hiking, swimming, biking, backpacking, or rock climbing – improve your health and decrease your risk for the negative health effects of physical inactivity. Get your blood pumping and breathe in fresh air instead of watching television, playing video games, and spending the day on the couch.

Fresh air

An increasing number of studies show that indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air quality. Most people spend most of their time indoors, whether it’s at home, work, school. Indoor air pollution from things such as dander, dust, mold, chemicals, and radon present a health risk. Spend time outdoors and get some fresh air!

Vitamin D

You can get vitamin D from supplements and foods, but you can also get vitamin D from the sun. Sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis when ultraviolet rays hit the skin. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the body, and can help prevent osteoporosis in older adult. It’s important to remember that ultraviolet radiation also has a negative affect on the body, and that you should wear sunscreen and protective clothing when spending time outdoors.

Mental health

A number of studies have shown how spending time outside can help improve mood and mental health. One study from Stanford found that people who walked for 90 minutes a day in a natural area showed decreased activity in a part of the brain associated with depression. Those who walked for 90 minutes in an urban area did not see the same decrease in brain activity.

Improved sleep

A recent study found that spending time outdoors could help adjust your melatonin levels and improve your sleep habits. Artificial light has been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms. According to the study, camping outdoors and relying on nothing but natural light can help reset your internal clock. Just stepping outside in the morning and getting some light can help adjust your rhythms. That early morning walk can do wonders for your sleep quality.


Make the most of spring and spend more time outdoors for your health! Is it time for your annual wellness exam? Schedule an appointment with a MANA physician today!