Health Advocate Blog

Go outside and get healthier

Living in a digital world combined with the after-effects of the pandemic’s isolation have made many people less likely to spend time outdoors. If you are among them, you could be missing out on the amazing physical and mental health benefits gained from simply spending time each day in a natural environment. To reap the benefits, try these suggestions:

Keep it simple. You don’t need a lot of space or time, you just need to make getting outside a priority (just be sure to dress according to the weather!). Post reminders on your fridge about seasonal outdoor things to do, scope out a bench to walk to and read on or a tree to sit under, or find new parts of the neighborhood to explore. Or maybe you can get some snazzy walking shoes or a new hat—whatever it takes to get you excited about heading outdoors!

Set a firm “recess time.” Relive the glee of busting out of the classroom! When you get out there, open your senses to the seasonal changes around you.

Find small ways to lure yourself outside. Enjoy your morning coffee or lunch outside. Tend to a small garden or container plants, fill a bird feeder, or set a goal to catch the sunrise or sunset each day. 

Share the outdoors. Meet a friend at a bench or picnic table for a short lunch or a walk-and-talk together after work. Have meetings outdoors, if possible.

Join an activity. Check your parks and recreation department for local walking/hiking groups, birdwatching and other activities. Sign up for neighborhood urban greening initiatives to plant trees or clean up trash.

Experience the great outdoors in a grander way. Visit arboretums, national parks, or check out for awesome natural wonders in your state.

4 big benefits of being outdoors

  • Protects your heart—induces relaxation, reduces stress hormones, and lowers heart rate
  • Restores and strengthens mental capacity, increasing focus and attention; lowers risk for depression and boosts psychological stress recovery
  • “Community greening” efforts promote better attitudes towards neighbors, improving relationships, reducing crime, and more
  • Natural outdoor urban spaces are more enticing for physical activity and more likely to motivate people to exercise, leading to higher levels of fitness

Feeling too stuck to move? Talk to your healthcare professional or a qualified counselor for help.