Spring has sprung—and you should absolutely get outside to witness firsthand the buds/new leaves/baby animals (yes, this is starting to sound like an outtake from Bambi … but you get the idea).
Here’s why getting outside is an important part of getting healthy.
1. You’ll give your immune system some love
If you’re walking outside, that is. Exercise is a proven immune booster: walking for just 20 minutes a day can help strengthen your immune system.
Contrary to popular belief, being (moderately) cold doesn’t make you more likely to get sick. Most researchers agree that the main reason we catch colds during cooler months is because we’re cooped up indoors with other people who may share their germs. So even if it’s a chilly spring, get out there!
2. You’ll be happier
Our brains are hardwired to appreciate nature. Being in nature can make you calmer and less likely to brood. Even looking at photos of nature can have an uplifting effect. So in addition to getting outside on the regular, surround yourself with gorgeous nature images and invest in some hardy houseplants.
3. You’ll burn more calories
Spending time indoors often equates to cozying up on the couch for hours and indulging in all the treats—things that, of course, aren’t great for your physical health. Getting outside naturally encourages you to be more active, whether you’re running, hiking or just walking the dog. Plus, studies show that exercise and nature exposure compliment each other. Exercise may boost your mood even more when you do it in nature.
4. You’ll be more energized
Need a pick-me-up? Before brewing yet another cup of coffee, consider going for a quick walk. Being in a bustling mall or loud office for long periods of time can overwhelm your brain, leading to mental fatigue and lack of focus. Basic tasks become just a little more difficult. Writing a simple email seems impossible. Here’s the good news: Studies show that people do better at cognitive tasks after time in nature. Even a 10-minute walk outside might make that email easier to write.
5. You’ll be less stressed at work
There’s more to reducing workplace stress than deep-breathing techniques and eating well. Nature time can have a surprisingly big impact on how you feel on the job. Studies show that nature contact at work—including time outdoors, office plants and window views—can mean less stress. Don’t let rain keep you from taking a 15-minute walking meeting outside; bring a windbreaker to work and keep an umbrella by your desk.