It’s Earth Day this weekend, which means that people all over are buzzing about recycling, natural energy, and being overall kind to our planet. These are crucial conversations, and ones we should have over and over again. However, we think it’s also important to focus on ways to enjoy the planet and why getting outside is more important than you might think.
As a society, we tend to be very indoor-centered. We work indoors, we usually eat indoors, we relax indoors, and we often exercise indoors. In fact, it is estimated that Americans spend about 93% of our lives indoors. And as you might guess, short of becoming very, very good at NBA 2K17 on your phone, there aren’t a lot virtues of living the indoor life. Don’t believe us? Here are our top 5 favorite reasons for grabbing the sunglasses and heading outside, pronto.
- Nature is a sadness snatcher. Even a measly 10 minutes spent in the great wide open can lower stress and bring you a sense of calm. Better yet, take an exercise session outside. Pair the endorphin rush you get from exercising with the feel-good calming you get from being in nature, and you might find yourself with an extra spring in your step for the rest of the week.
- Nature helps you see things clearly – literally. Spending time outdoors can help prevent Computer Vision Syndrome. This real-but-sounds-fake condition occurs when you spend an excessive amount of time in front of a screen. Continually focusing on items roughly two feet away can set your eyes up for vision problems, eye irritation, headaches, and dry or red eyes. When you go outside you naturally focus on items further away, and this can fight CVS eyes.
- Nature improves your stride. Are you a tried and true treadmiller? If you like to run, but tend to stick to the climate-controlled TV screen-adjacent gym treadmills, you might want to consider changing it up. Though it may be hard to believe, outdoor exercise is more taxing and challenging than indoor, given the terrain changes, wind resistance, and downhill stints. Also, runners actually flex their ankles more when running outside which can lead to greater overall athletic performance.
- Nature is less germy. The next time you get up close and personal with an indoor exercise bike, consider the scary fact that gym equipment is a prime breeding ground for MRSA, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and herpes simplex.
- Nature is naturally fortifying. You know how it seems like every time you turn around you’re hearing more about vitamin D? It’s actually for good reason. Vitamin D (actually a hormone rather than a vitamin) is necessary for calcium absorption in your body. Also, decreased levels of vitamin D have been linked to weight gain, certain cancers, depression, and autoimmune disorders. And since the sun is a natural source of vitamin D, it makes sense to get out and enjoy it.
Earth Day is a great opportunity to realize how great nature is, and how much it can benefit us to spend time outdoors. While we’re all for getting a killer HIIT workout in the studio a few times a week, mixing it up with some sun-soaked outdoor exercise is a great idea, and a literal breath of fresh air.