Sunshine is Here, Step Out into the Green! Why Outdoor Activities Can Be Good For You

By Monica Wilson on March 27, 2012

Yes! Glorious weather is finally here! Sun lovers are rushing to the beach and in every available open space to enjoy warm weather. Those who had their day off from work last Monday were lucky enough to experience the scorching temperature that hit 22.9C. Adults who were working on their tan had a great time sunbathing at the beach while children had a very good reason to ask a cup of ice cream. The Met Office said we got two more days of warm, beautiful weather. If you haven’t gone out yet to get some sunshine, this is the perfect moment!

Benefits of Great Outdoors

On a study published yesterday (March 26) on Archives of Internal Medicine, it was found that adults who sat 11 hours or more a day are 40% more at risk of dying for the next three years as compared to those who sat for only four hours a day or less. This doesn’t exclude those who are physically active. That means even if you go to the gym every day for an hour or less of workout, you are still at risk of developing health problems if you used to sit for 11 hours and more. The study was conducted by Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. Taking into the account the physical activity, weight, and health status, she studied life patterns of 200,000 individuals and arrived on the said conclusion.

So instead of sitting down, experts recommend the public to keep themselves physically active. And what could be more exciting way to do this than to go out and have some great outdoors?

There are numerous reasons why staying outside and playing with nature is beneficial and they are well documented. Below are just a few of them:

·         It develops your sense of focus and concentration

The Kaplan’s theory of Attention Restoration states that people (both children and adults) need more time in nature in order for them to perform better at work or at school. It also asserts that people can concentrate better even by simply looking at scenes of nature. 

·         It reduces symptoms of ADHD in children

In the study of Taylor and Kuo in 2009, it was found that activities done in an open and green environment helps reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children. Kids with said condition are advised to go on biking, mountain climbing, summer boot camps, outdoor sports, and the like. 

·         It improves self esteem in women

Every woman wants to find her self-worth. In a study by Kari Hennigan from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in California, she found that the more time women spend in nature, the better their self-appreciation becomes. For instance, Hennigan explained that the more women view their surroundings, the less time they will spend looking at the thin bodies on magazine covers and ads that promise beauty perfection.  

·         It helps reduce stress and improve mood

Studies made by many conservation psychologists relate nature with overall health. Going to the beach, fishing, camping, and other green recreational activities can help reduce stress. On another study published by researchers from the University of Rochester, it was shown that being with nature can improve mood in a significant level. It also helps speed up recovery. In fact, in some hospitals, patients are shown pictures of nature for fast recuperation.

So what’s your plan? Instead of sitting or lying in bed and keeping yourself busy with novels and magazines at home, why not go out and do some outdoor activities? Play football with your children, walk your dog to the park, or get the whole family to the beach! Doing this will not only give you fun, it will also improve you—in mind and body.

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