Getting outside can make us healthier!
Most of us spend the majority of our time inside, sat under fluorescent lights and staring at computers or televisions. Even when we do go outside we are on our phones.
Yes in the Summer months we do spend more time outside; heading to the beach, having barbeques and doing some gardening. But too much time inside isn’t good for us and getting outside isn’t just about beaches and barbeques. Science shows that spending time in the great outdoors can actually make you healthier.
Here are our top 3;
It has a de-stressing effect
It has been proven that being outdoors has the ability to change the levels of the stress inducing hormone cortisol present in the human body. One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol than those who spent that time in the city. Even those working in offices with a window overlooking nature had lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction.
Spending time outside reduces inflammation
Increased levels of inflammation can create many problems for the body. Spending time in nature may be one way to help keep it in check. In one study elderly patients who had been sent on a weeklong trip into the forest showed reduced signs of inflammation as well as some indications that the time spent in the great outdoors had a positive effect on their hypertension.
Spending time outside lowers blood pressure
So if being outside has a de-stressing effect and can help reduce inflammation, it’s no surprise that outdoor time can also lower blood pressure. One intensive study of 280 participants in Japan found that along with lowering the levels of the stress hormone by more than 15 percent, a walk in the forest lowered average pulse by almost 4 percent and blood pressure by just over 2 percent.
The Elderly outside
The studies above talk of spending time in the forest, but we know it can be difficult for some people to even get outside, let alone go for a walk in the forest. Plus the Great British weather often means the chances of getting outside can be limited. So below we have some tips on how you can bring the benefits of the great outdoors to them. Whether it be an elderly person in your care or a family member. These ideas could have a positive effect on their lives.
Sit by an open window
If someone is house bound, try sitting them near an open window. As mentioned above, people who were able to look at nature from a window, had lower levels of cortisol. You could put a bird feeder nearby and they could do a spot of bird watching; all from the comfort of their home. A cosy seating area like below would a perfect spot for de-stressing.
Smell the roses
Science shows that you really should stop and smell the roses, as the smell of them promotes relaxation. Other flowers, like lavender and jasmine, can also lower anxiety and up your mood. Bring the flowers inside by creating beautiful bouquets of stress busting flowers for the house.
Short walks outdoors
Getting outside doesn’t have to involve a mammoth hike in the forest, it could simply be a walk in the garden, a walk to the local village or even just popping to the post box down the road. Short walks outside will still have a positive impact on the individual. Even if a wheelchair is needed, the benefits of getting outside are sure to be felt.
Everyone loves to think they are young at heart! So why not get the grandkids over to play. You don’t have to play chase or run after them. Seeing the joy of them playing in the garden, whilst you sit and watch is enough to boost the happy endorphins in our body.
Do you have any tips on how to make use of the great outdoors at home? Let us know! @collectivePurch