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Six Ways Going Outside Improves Your Quality of Life

May 25, 2017 at midnight

With computers and the internet conspiring to flood us with indoor entertainment opportunities, outdoor activities have faded in popularity among many connected individuals. Still, researchers continue to compile evidence that Mother Nature remains the first source of happiness. Here are six compelling reasons for taking regular outdoor strolls in the park or doing whatever takes your fancy:

1). Jumping for Joy

The most obvious benefit of outdoor activity in natural surroundings, especially with friends, is simply moving around in a peaceful milieu that encourages more activity. A vigorous game of disc golf can burn up quite a few calories and speed up your metabolism for the rest of the day. If you're in the mood for some extended climbing, a study published in PLoS One Journal found that lurking in the upper reaches of mountainous territory is linked to lower levels of obesity among stationed military personnel. You could find that tackling the high frontier leads to genuine fitness and health.

2). Lightening Depression

Sometimes, the word for world is forest. Even healthy adults benefit from regularly communing with nature, but depression appears especially likely to lighten with regular walks in the forest or other natural surroundings. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that individuals suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) responded positively to 50-minute nature walks. Urban walks offered considerable less benefit to MDD patients in the study.

3). Enrichment Through Natural Surroundings

Our memories are what make us individual and unique. Long-term memories create the sea of selfhood, and short-term memories are the rivers that feed that sea. Natural surroundings enrich our memories in ways beyond the reach of drab, stressful cityscapes. In a study from the University of Michigan, students who strolled around in the lush greenery of an arboretum exhibited significant improvements in tests of short-term memory. Students who had instead taken in the sights of the city showed far fewer cognitive benefits.

4). Lowered Risk of Common Diseases

Interestingly, moderate exposure to direct sunlight seems to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other serious medical problems for otherwise healthy individuals. Many people suffer from inadequate blood levels of vitamin D3, which normally is produced in the body as a result of photosynthesis of vitamin D3 from direct skin exposure to the ultraviolet-B spectrum of ordinary sunlight. Even mild sunburn means you've had too much, though, so stay within 10 to 15 minutes a day before lathering up with sunscreen.

5). Lessened Isolation from Others

Getting around outdoors means a greater chance of running into other people and perhaps making new friends. Social isolation has been strongly linked to higher mortality rates in older women and men. If nothing else, you'll have fun bumping into nice people of all ages as you romp at your leisure, and you'll feel less lonely by day's end.

6). Heightened Alertness

Your job undoubtedly demands your full attention, and being in a mental fog all day is a waste of your potential. Spending time in the fresh air and under the open sky of the great outdoors will clear your mind, reduce fatigue, and refresh your soul, leaving you ready to return to more mundane affairs. Perhaps most importantly, regular outdoor activities will tire you out in a healthy way and make you more likely to sleep well at night, thus avoiding the amazingly commonplace phenomenon of chronic insomnia.



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