Easy Ways To Spend More Qual­ity Time Out­doors

The Oakdale Leader - - 209 LIVING -

In cen­turies past, hu­mans spent much of their time in na­ture, hunt­ing, for­ag­ing and liv­ing life with­out the com­forts of ex­ten­sive shel­ters. Fast­for­ward sev­eral cen­turies, and the ta­bles have turned dra­mat­i­cally. The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency says the av­er­age per­son spends 93 per­cent of his life in­doors, with 87 per­cent of the time in­side of a build­ing, and the re­main­ing six per­cent in an au­to­mo­bile. These shock­ing re­sults in­di­cate that the equiv­a­lent of just one half of one day per week is spent out­doors. And peo­ple may be pay­ing a price for spend­ing so much time in­doors. There are var­i­ous rea­sons to be­lieve that be­ing out­doors can be good for a per­son’s health. The Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health and Har­vard Med­i­cal School say that, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing phys­i­cal ben­e­fits, sim­ply spend­ing time in na­ture in any form can im­prove men­tal out­look, boost creativ­ity, el­e­vate mood due to nat­u­ral light, im­prove con­cen­tra­tion, and re­duce stress. A study from the St. Louis Uni­ver­sity School of Medicine also said that spend­ing time out­doors can help a per­son sleep bet­ter. That’s be­cause nat­u­ral sun­light can set the body’s in­ter­nal clock. De­spite all of the ben­e­fits of get­ting out­side, many peo­ple find it chal­leng­ing to do so thanks to their busy sched­ules. The fol­low­ing are a few ways to in­crease time in the out­doors that do not re­quire ma­jor com­mit­ments. Bike or walk to work. For those who live close to their of­fices, walk­ing or cy­cling to work is a sim­ple way to spend more time out­doors. Peo­ple who take pub­lic trans­porta­tion can get off the train or bus a few stops early to get some ex­er­cise and breathe some fresh air. Lunch out­side. Take your lunch hour out­doors rather than in an in­door cafe­te­ria or restau­rant. Of­fice work­ers are urged to go to a park or green space to give their brains a rest from ur­ban stim­uli. Lunch is the ideal time to do just that. In­vest in a screen room at home. A screened-in porch, lanai or other space can bridge the in­doors to out­side and serve as a rest­ful place to en­joy some fresh air while be­ing pro­tected from in­sects and in­clement weather. Set strict ‘no de­vice’ times. Sched­ule a time when de­vices are dis­con­nected and the en­tire fam­ily en­joys some re­cre­ation out­doors. Let kids get back to the ba­sics of bike rid­ing, skat­ing, play­ing pick-up sports games out­side with friends, and all of the ac­tiv­i­ties par­ents en­joyed as youths. Dine al fresco. Opt for out­door seat­ing at a fa­vorite restau­rant. This will pro­vide an hour or more to take in the sights and breathe some fresh air while en­joy­ing a meal. Meet friends at out­door places. When en­gag­ing in recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, plan them at out­door venues, such as parks, beaches, town cen­ters, board­walks, and other ar­eas where ev­ery­one can have fun and still be out­side. Fresh air, sun­shine and time spent in na­ture are good for the mind and body. Peo­ple con­cerned that they’re spend­ing too much time in­doors should seek ways to spend more time out­side when­ever pos­si­ble.

Din­ing out­side is one way to spend more time out­doors and stud­ies show there are mul­ti­ple health ben­e­fits to be gained by get­ting out of the house or car.

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