Go Play Outside – It’s good for you!

DSC02676It’s April and spring has arrived to Colorado… for the most part… Let’s just ignore the forecast for snow this weekend, shall we? Time to go outside and enjoy the warm, sunny weather! Did you know it is actually good for your health to spend time in the outdoors? There is a reason it feels so amazing!

Here are some health benefits of getting outside:

Your daily dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that plays a key role in your immune system and keeps your bones strong. Getting your daily dose of sunshine has been linked to the prevention of osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart disease. Spending time in the sun is the best way to get it! Aim to get 10 minutes of sun time without wearing sunscreen.

Get’s you moving! If you’re outdoors, most likely you are moving your bod. Sitting is the smoking of our generation. Exercising on a regular basis strengthens muscles, improves heart and lung function, reduces your risk of major diseases, stimulates the growth of new brain cells, and even adds years to your life. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that’s required to reap big benefits.

Have an amazing night’s sleep. Our circadian rhythm, our internal sleep cycle tied to the sun, can be altered by artificial light. Spending too much time inside can interfere with our natural sleep schedule. Getting early morning exposure to the sun recalibrates our circadian rhythm. If you have to be inside, consider restricting your use of screen time (iPads, phones, etc) a few hours before bedtime too.

Take a breath of fresh air. Did you know that indoor air pollution is way worse than outdoor pollution? Studies have shown that indoor pollutants are normally 2-5 (and even up to 100) times higher than outdoor air pollutants. Health risks associated with indoor pollutants include increased chance of heart disease, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and asthmatic attacks. Opening windows and having house plants help indoor air quality too, fyi.

Be happy! Spending time in nature has been linked to improved focus, boosts in serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and increased activities in the regions of your brain responsible for empathy and love. Nice!

So… what are you doing still inside reading this? Go outside and play right now!

Peace is every step.

The shining red sun is my heart.

Each flower smiles with me.

How green, how fresh all that grows.

How cool the wind blows.

Peace is every step.

It turns the endless path to joy.

Thich Nat Hanh

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