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The Benefits Of Outdoor Activity

by Kai Kahale
7 minutes read

There are all kinds of ways to keep yourself (and potentially others, like family members) entertained these days, but when you think about what you might do, what comes to mind? Is it something indoors? Something, perhaps, that requires a screen? 

If so, don’t worry – you’re definitely not the only one. We’ve got so much technology around us and we use it so much of the time that of course it makes sense to use it when we’ve got some downtime and need something to occupy our minds as well. Plus, don’t forget that for a long time we had to stay indoors, and outdoor activities were effectively banned. True, that was years ago now, but it was a difficult time, and it will have stuck with people, and perhaps built some habits and hobbies that are all about being indoors. 

Yet there are many benefits to outdoor activities, and it’s worth exploring this idea more so that you can think more carefully about what kind of activities you want to do, and why. With that in mind, keep reading to discover some of the benefits of outdoor activities; there might be more than you think. 

Physical Health Benefits 

The first thing we’ll discuss is the fact that outdoor activities can have a positive impact on your physical health, and perhaps that’s only to be expected – when you’re outside, you’re probably going to be moving around more than you would inside, not to mention the fact that you’re breathing fresh air, and that’s good for you too. 

Your heart is one area of the body that can really benefit from outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, swimming, and running, for example. When you do these things, your heart rate and circulation will improve, and you’ll actually reduce the risk of heart disease. Since you’ll also be able to maintain a healthy weight and good blood pressure, and these things are also beneficial to the heart, it’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit. 

As well as your heart, outdoor activities can also improve your strength and even strengthen your bones, meaning you’re less likely to get hurt if you have an accident. And what about getting sick? When you spend time outdoors, your immune system will improve too, so sickness is less likely to affect you, and if you do get sick, it won’t be as severe as it otherwise would be. 

Mental Health Benefits 

Although physical health benefits might be the main reason to start doing a range of different outdoor activities, what about your mental health? You might not know it, but outdoor activities can help with that too, and ensure you’re completely well, inside and out. 

Take stress, for example. One of the biggest mental health benefits of being outdoors is stress reduction – being outside can improve your mood and make you feel a lot happier. In fact, outdoor activities can even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and although you should still see a specialist for help with these conditions, if being outside can make you feel better, that’s definitely not a bad thing. It’s all about hormones – or at least, it’s a lot about hormones. When you’re outside and feeling happy and relaxed, you’ll produce more serotonin (which makes you happy) and less cortisol (which is literally known as the stress hormone) – now it all makes sense. 

You’ll also often find you can sleep better if you’ve been outside, and especially if you’ve enjoyed some outdoor activities, wherever they might be. When you’re exposed to natural light, it regulates your body’s internal clock, and that means you’ll be tired when it’s time to go to sleep and feel much more awake when it’s time to get up. Once your sleep-wake cycle is better regulated, a lot of other things will fall into place as well. 

Social Benefits 

We’ve looked at both mental and physical health benefits when it comes to outdoor activities, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s about it – there’s nothing else to say. That’s not quite true, however; there are some great social benefits to outdoor activities as well. 

For one thing, outdoor activities mean you get a lot more social interaction – not always, that’s true, but very often. That’s going to help strengthen relationships with your family, friends, and people in your community; just think of playing team sports, for example, going hiking in a group, or going to a music festival and you’ll see what we mean. 

Outdoor activities also help when it comes to social interaction and confidence. When you’re out in the fresh air enjoying yourself, you won’t feel so tense and anxious when you’re meeting new people or simply interacting with those around you. That can help massively when it comes to other aspects of your life where confidence is key. 

Environmental Awareness 

As we said, there are a number of benefits when it comes to outdoor activities, and some are less obvious than others – at least until you know about them, and then you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before. The fact is that spending time outdoors can help you get a much better connection with nature, and perhaps even an increased appreciation of the environment. When you’re able to experience the beauty and tranquility of the outside world, you’ll feel much more inclined to take care of it – you’ll be more environmentally responsible

Plus, you can learn a lot as well. Nature walks, wildlife searches, or even specially designed environmental educational programs can all be useful when it comes to teaching you about eco-systems, biodiversity, and conservation – and these are all things we need to know a lot more about and put into practice much more. If being outside and doing whatever activity it is you enjoy is what spurs you on to learn more, then that’s great, and definitely a benefit that won’t just help you, but will also help the planet – how can that be a bad thing? 

In the end, finding something you love to do and making the most of it is what can give your life meaning, or at the very least give you something to look forward to and enjoy. So why not look at the kinds of outdoor activities you could do now you know the benefits linked to them? It could be exactly what you need.

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