According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. Along with poor indoor ventilation, sun shading and cooling come potential health risks. This type of indoor-focused lifestyle is robbing us from the multitude of health benefits being outdoors can offer us. Today’s situation is clear: there is a real need for fresh air, enough daylight, comfortable indoor and outdoor temperatures and there is absolutely a need to maximize outdoor living to help us live longer, healthier lives.
5 Benefits of spending more time outdoors
1. Air quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be five to ten times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. It is therefore more critical than ever to spend enough time outside every day. Some simple ways
to do that are dining outside on the patio, taking your laptop on your deck when working from home or taking some time to tend to a garden every day.
2. Increase vitamin D intake
According to the Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. That's because your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body. These days, it can be hard to get your natural dose of Vitamin D when spending so much time indoors. As little as 15 minutes outdoors can help so take that brisk walk today!
3. Boost immune system
Scientists think that breathing in phytoncides—airborne chemicals produced by plants—increases your levels of white blood cells, helping fight off infections and diseases. Spending daily outdoor time can help you staying healthy. Create a space where some of your daily activities can be done outdoors. Love cooking? Get an outdoor kitchen under a louvered roof and start preparing your family dinner outside. Make sure to add plants around the outdoor space for full benefit!
4. Reduce stress
Being outside among nature can help reduce your heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. One way to guide you in your healthier lifestyle can be to create a safe, quiet outdoor space, such as a pergola
, where you can decompress anytime you need to. Make sure this space offers sun protection and is also water resistant so you can use it throughout the year. And do not let the winter months
keep you indoors!
5. Improve memory
A University of Michigan study found that participant’s memory improved by as much as 20% after walking in nature. While not everyone has access to hiking trails
near them, transform your backyard into a nature path by adding plants, trees and wild flowers. Choose native plants to your climate and area to respect your local eco-system.
Now it is time to enjoy the great outdoors! Looking for some easy activities to do in your backyard? Check out the 6 benefits of a pergola
to get inspired to spend more time outside with family and friends (and much needed relaxation!). Need even more inspiration? Read our article about pergola ideas