How Much Outdoor Time Can Do for You
By Sandy Schroeder
Are you in the 95 percent group who spends almost all of their time indoors?
I did not think I was, but when I looked closer, I realized my time spent outdoors was really very small. There were some short walks, biking errands, and a little stretching time on the patio, but the rest of my time turned out to be seated in front of my computer, or parked on a chair or couch in my living room.
As a child, I grew up loving the outdoors and practically lived outdoors all summer long. So what changed? Almost everything. I found myself in a crisis mode with the pandemic and in a work at home mode that contained me and my family inside most of the time. What to do? Well, my answer was to head outside for lots of breaks before overwork and self-neglect brought me and my family down.
How Much Time Do You Spend Outdoors?
Take a closer look at your daily schedule and make a list of all of your outdoor activities. If that list is a little short, here are some ways to expand it to get the benefits of being outside.
Start every morning outside with coffee - Sit on the patio or walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the quiet, the greenery and the birds.
Take mid-morning breaks outside - Spend 10 or 15 minutes sitting in the sun or walking around the block.
Devote half of your lunch to outside time - Do a yoga session, stretch routine, or eat your lunch outside.
Take a mid-afternoon break outside - Do a brief meditation or just sit quietly and let the day's tension go.
Run or walk in the early evening - Walk the dog or head to the park with your kids.
On weekends pick an activity - Bike, walk, hike, jog or camp with family or friends and spend most of the weekend outside in your community or on short trips.
The Mayo Clinic suggests you look for new regional hiking trails, pedal along railway lines that have been converted to bike paths, or canoe, kayak or paddle board on the nearest river or lake.
What Happens When You Head Outdoors
The outside may mellow you out and open lots of new doors.
- Stress drops and calmness returns
- Blood pressure rate and weight improve
- Children burn off excess energy and wind down
- Burnouts subside and sharper focus returns
Your time outdoors can be as simple as stepping out your back door to shoot some hoops or as elaborate as a spring trip to a new spot to camp, hike and explore. Whatever you decide to do, I suspect more outdoor time will be well worth the effort.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Greenwood, Ind.