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How Time Outdoors Makes Us Happier and Healthier

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of spending time outside: feeling warm sunshine on your face, enjoying a cooling breeze, and taking in the sights and sounds of nature. While we love it, many of us wish we made more time for outdoor activities – and we should! Studies have shown that being outdoors keeps us healthier longer and has a profound impact on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Here’s how.

Physical Benefits: Moving with Nature

When spending time outdoors, it’s a lot more likely that you’re engaging in activities that keep you moving. Some of these might include more structured physical activities – bike riding, hiking, or outdoor fitness classes – while others just happen naturally! Gardening, picking up a game of Frisbee or catch, or splashing around in a pool are just some examples. 

Putting it simply: our favorite ways to enjoy time outside are not typically sedentary, meaning we get more movement into our day without even trying. 

The benefits to our health are clear: spending time in nature leads to increased physical fitness, reduction in chronic disease and improved cardiovascular health. A study by the USDA Forest Service shows that regular exposure to green spaces can lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of obesity and improve respiratory health as well. Being in the sunshine (with proper skin protection, of course), also improves our vitamin D levels, which is essential for healthy bones and immune systems.

Mental Health Benefits: Feeling Grounded

In addition to the physical benefits of time in the great outdoors, studies also suggest that this time spent outside makes us feel better, too. Immersion in natural landscapes and fresh air has been shown to significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression symptoms. Given these findings, this area of study has continued to grow and become known as “ecopsychology.” Newer research in this field has suggested that immersion in nature helps to relieve mental fatigue and restores attention span

Being outside can also have a calming effect on our minds, promoting relaxation, tranquility, and grounding. For many of us, nature is an escape from everyday demands and pressures, allowing us to disconnect from technology and other distractions. Instead, we can use time outside to reconnect with ourselves through mindfulness practices and reflection. Inviting friends and family to join us for outdoor activities is another great way to nurture our relationships.

All in all, enjoying nature boosts our overall mood and enhances our ability to rest and recharge.

Social Benefits: Natural Connections

Building community is important to us in Sunbridge, and being outside fosters a sense of friendship among people, whether they’re already acquainted or not. Parks, trails and recreational areas provide space for neighbors to come together and naturally connect. Picnics with family, team sports and community events in natural settings also promote a sense of belonging. 

These relationships and social support networks are essential to feeling fulfilled as a human being. By engaging with the outdoors, we’re not only reaping mental and physical benefits, but we’re nurturing important social connections, too.

Whether you head outside every day for a quick walk at lunchtime or once your workday is done, spend the weekend lounging or playing on the beach, or just enjoy an al fresco meal with family and friends, breathing fresh open air and observing the beautiful natural surroundings can make you a healthier, happier person. 

Ready to spend even more time outdoors? Click below to find a home in the naturehood.

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