I have been thinking a lot lately about getting outside. Maybe it’s because I read the book The Last Child in the Woods. (I guess I was about 10 years too late reading this one, but whatever…) Maybe it’s because I am not outside as much as I have been in the summer. Maybe I am just trying to be more intentional about it. But honestly, it is time that we all stop and smell the roses.
Why we should all be going outside more?
1. Vitamin D
We all know this, but we are still deficient in this as a society. So let’s work on it!
I don’t know about you, but it is always difficult to just sit around when you are outside. You want to go for a walk, chase after the kids, explore, get in the water, etc. And we know exercise is good for us, so this is a super easy way to incorporate it into our lifestyle.
I have recently just had an epiphany. And this totally could just be me. But I have found that when I am outside in the mornings (whether pool, beach, park, etc.), I am so much more productive in the afternoon. The same isn’t true if I was out shopping in the morning. Most afternoons I contemplate napping, but if I was outside in the morning, I am more likely to contemplate exercising and actually following through. It works great for me because the whole wake-up-before-the-kids deal isn’t going to happen for me. And not only do I exercise, I do laundry and the dishes and a bunch of other stuff. So at least for me, I need to make sure I spend some time outside in the mornings.
4. Mental Health
Going outside is totally recommended for those struggling with depression and anxiety, even children with ADHD. Suicide rates actually spike in the colder months when people are less likely to be outside. So it follows if it is helpful for depression and anxiety, it will be helpful for all of us to help ward them off.
And sidenote, kids are under a lot of pressure at school, at home, and with friends. Sometimes, it is hard for them to verbalize all their emotions. Kids also struggle with anxiety and depression. A small little personal story- my oldest son has a strict teacher this year. He is very much a perfectionist and felt that he couldn’t measure up to her standards. He was losing sleep about going to school the first few weeks. And it didn’t help that it rained a lot those weeks. He had an outdoor recess maybe 3 times in 2 weeks. And he rarely went outside at home because of the rain. I had a feeling that his stress level was so intensified because of the lack of time outside. So the sun eventually came out, and he got to play outside again- both at school and at home. All of a sudden, school was more manageable, he turned back into his normal self. Seriously, it was awesome. (I get that he probably got more used to her, but I am sure that being outside helped a lot).
5. Better Sleep
Yes, exercise helps you sleep better, but just being outside helps too. Plus it helps regulate your circadian rhythm- your body’s time clock. We all know people who stay up late (like past midnight) on their phones or watching TV. They are basically messing with their circadian rhythm, flooding it with light at night. If you go outside, you are exposed to bright light when you should be, during the day. Plus, fresh air never hurt.
6. Spiritual Well-being
Just being outside, I have the opportunity to marvel at God’s creation. I look up at the sky and think that it is just so amazing that God made it just the perfect color blue. I marvel when I watch a storm coming in. Nature provides an endless array of things to marvel and thank God for creating. I love the variety. I love the picturesque sunrises and sunsets that God paints for us twice a day! Seriously, it just shows how creative God is and how He just wants to bring a smile to our faces. And we marvel at His strength when the storms come rolling in. Honestly, I can go on and on. All this to say that being outside, makes me dwell more on the magnificence of God.
What about you? What are your reasons for getting outside?
Until Next Time,