While practicing self-isolation, you may think that you have to stay inside your house at all times. This is far from true! Although staying appropriately distant from others and using common sense while outside is necessary, locking yourself away in your home is not. In fact, being outside and surrounding yourself in the beauty of nature can actually improve your mental and physical health in ways that will enhance your time in self-isolation. Below are some of the benefits of being outside and how they may affect your health.
Spending More Time Outside May Improve Your Immune System
Eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, and getting an adequate amount of sleep are all ways of improving our immune systems that we are familiar with. But what about increasing our immunity by simply spending more time outside? Findings from multiple studies strongly suggest that outdoor environments have beneficial effects on human immune function and increase overall health. Trees and other plants found in outdoor environments produce phytoncides which are airborne chemicals that have been shown to increase the production of white blood cells. Simply going outside and smelling the roses (or trees) has the potential to drastically improve your immune function and help prevent diseases.
Being Outdoors Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a crucial part of our bodies’ natural immune system. However, when inflammation goes into overdrive or becomes chronic, it can be the cause of many severe illnesses. These include numerous autoimmune disorders, heart disease, stroke, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and cancer.
There are many well-known ways to help reduce inflammation such as eating healthy and exercising. One of the less known yet most effective ways of reducing inflammation is to spend more time outdoors. Studies show that people who are frequently outside in nature, particularly when surrounded by trees, have significantly lower inflammation levels than those who spend most of their time indoors or in urban areas such as cities. This reduction in inflammation is linked to simply being outside, regardless of how active you are while you’re out there.
Spending More Time Outside May Benefit Your Mental Health
The physical benefits of getting outside and being active are well documented and have been promoted for years. However, new studies are finding links between improved mental health and being outdoors. One study compared people who spent time outside to those who stayed primarily indoors or in highly urban areas and found that stress and anxiety levels were significantly lower for those who spent more time outdoors. Another study suggests that even just viewing nature and the outdoors through a window can lead to drastic improvements in happiness, stress, and productivity.
Being Outside May Enhance Your Focus, Creativity, & Memory
Along with improving your mental health, spending more time outside may also enhance your focus, creativity, and memory. A study found that participants who went on nature walks performed an average of 20% better on memory tests than those who stayed inside or went on walks in highly urban areas. Another study found that spending time outdoors, especially when surrounded by nature, has the potential to drastically reduce mental fatigue; improving focus and creativity. Now is the perfect time to go out in your yard and paint, read, write, or do any of the other creative and focus-driven activities that you previously did not have time for.
We at UV Skinz strongly advocate that you follow all precautions stated by the CDC on how to best keep you, your family, and your community healthy. We also highly encourage you to dedicate some of your new-found free time to being outside soaking in all of the incredible benefits the natural world has to offer (in a sun-safe way of course!).
Need some inspiration on how to get the benefits of being outside while at home in isolation? Here are some great outdoor family activities you can do in your backyard.