How Much Being Outdoors Does for Us

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us gravitate to the outdoors, but we may not realize just how important it is to our health. New research says more time spent outside may create a richer level of daily happiness and health for us.

Check the Numbers

Spending two to three hours per week outside in the park, by a lake, or walking through the woods can significantly boost an individual's sense of well-being, according to new research in Nature Scientific Reports. Depending on the amount of time, results were 20 to 60 percent greater in overall health assessments than those from people who went outside very little, according to the Washington Post.

Consider Your Outdoor Patterns

As a kid growing up in the Midwest, I was naturally drawn to the outdoors. When I was small, my dog and my tree swing were the most important parts of my snug little world outdoors. Then I got a bike and expanded my world as I cycled throughout the summer.  That time spent outside anchored the best memories of my childhood. Inside was OK, but outside was heaven.

If you can relate, you might find it important to do an outdoor check on your current world. You may dash in and out all day, but never just sit and feel the breeze and the sun, putter in the garden, or just put your feet up and read on your porch or patio. Pause to consider how you could expand your outdoor time on a regular basis. 

What about Your Family?

Consider how much time your family spends outside, versus indoor time playing video games or watching sports. If it is not enough, do something about it.

Use these simple way to expand your outdoor time.

  • Start early - Add some early morning outdoor time, drinking coffee or stretching on your balcony
  • Eat outside more - Redo your patio and barbecue for weekend parties; plan more summertime suppers for friends and family
  • Make everything more inviting - Rethink your patio, lawn and flowerbeds
  • Practice time - Set up hoops for basketball or nets for soccer practice in the back yard
  • Upgrade bikes - Outfit the whole family with the right bikes
  • Fresh produce - Plant a small vegetable, herb or citrus garden
  • Create small hideaways - Invent small spots to sit and think or practice yoga
  • Walk more - Set up some regular walking routines to the park or around the neighborhood
  • Park the car - Bike or walk to do errands on the weekend
  • Keep weekends active - Try wilderness hikes or trail biking
  • Assign duties - Give each family member an outdoor space to develop and maintain
  • Blend hobbies - Enjoy the outdoors shooting pictures, painting scenes, or collecting rocks

Keep an eye on your schedule and your family's activities. If your outdoor time goes up, you will probably see the difference in attitude.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz.

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