Imagine being outside on a warm, sunny day breathing in the fresh air and listening to a soft breeze rustle through the trees. Sounds relaxing, right? Spending time outside is one of those simple pleasures that many of us have access to — and it has been proven to work wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing.
If you’re looking for ways to relax and unwind, the many benefits of fresh air and natural sunshine may be exactly what you need. Here’s why prioritising outdoor time should be part of your regular routine.
You’ll get your daily dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for our body to absorb calcium and maintain strong bones, teeth, and muscles. It also helps prevent osteoporosis and reduce inflammation as we age. Although we can get vitamin D from certain foods we eat, 90% of it is from casual exposure to sunlight especially in the UK’s warmer months from early April to late September.
To get your daily dose of vitamin D, try to spend at least 10-15 minutes per day in the sun, preferably in the morning when the UV rays aren’t as strong. Sunshine can be a real mood booster, and you’ll also notice you have more energy to get you through the day.
Your mental health will thank you
Spending time outside with nature has been found to help people manage and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. According to the Mental Health Foundation, appreciating and connecting with our natural surroundings can support our sense of well-being.
Spending just 20-30 minutes outside every day can significantly reduce your stress levels. That could mean taking your morning workout outside or winding down after a hectic day with an evening walk to get the benefits of outdoor exercise at the same time.
It can help you get more ZzZs
We know getting quality sleep is essential to our overall health, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Getting exposure to natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythms and enable a more natural sleep pattern. A circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock which controls a wide range of processes including physical, mental and behavioural patterns.
In addition to natural light exposure, getting outside will help calm nerves and anxiety that may be keeping you up at night. Fresh air also contains more oxygen which helps lower blood pressure and heart rate. If you regularly tire yourself out with outdoor workouts, you’ll start noticing that you’re snoozing the second your head hits the pillow.
You’ll become more mindful
Practising mindfulness and being in the moment can be difficult when you’re surrounded by technology and the distractions of home. The time you spend outside can be a chance to unplug and focus on yourself. Research also shows that natural scents like flowers and freshly cut grass can make you feel calmer and more relaxed. One study conducted by Kyoto University in Japan found that the smell of pine and a walk through the forest, known as “forest bathing”, can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
It promotes work-life balance
If you have a busy job, you know that if you want a break, you must set aside dedicated time for it. For most people, going for a walk or doing an outdoor workout means stepping away from their desks for a little while. Working outdoor time into your schedule naturally means you’ll be taking a break from work.
It will become a priority
The more time you spend outdoors, the more you’ll come to crave it. Friluftsliv, a popular Nordic philosophy that translates to “outdoor life”, is all about committing to prioritizing time spent outdoors regardless of the season or the weather. That means embracing even the wettest UK days and not letting anything stop you from getting out for some fresh air.
With a little forethought and motivation, adding more fresh air and sunshine to your day-to-day life doesn’t have to mean changing your entire lifestyle. Here are some simple ways to spend less time inside:
– Work outside while working from home
– Take a walk on your lunch break or enjoy lunch outside
– Enjoy a game of tennis on an outdoor court at your local David Lloyd Club
– Start a new hobby that involves the outdoors such as cycling, gardening or hiking
– Take a swim in an outdoor pool at your local David Lloyd Club
Enjoy the outdoors at David Lloyd Clubs
At David Lloyd Clubs, we understand the importance of being outdoors. We have a number of outdoor facilities including outdoor pools, tennis courts and our exclusive Battlebox classes. If you want to take it easy, our tranquil adults-only spa garden combines fresh air with the luxurious relaxation of a spa.
This post originally appeared on the David Lloyd blog.