The health benefits of the outdoors can make anyone feel like a new person.
Spending time in green spaces is as much a treat for our mental health as it is for our arms and legs. It's beneficial to our immune system, decreases our blood pressure and gives us some added vitamin D just to top it off.
Physical activity isn't just for the folks down at the local gym. Fresh air alone makes our heart rate soar, making it one of the best healthcare plans in the world, and no membership is required.
Since outdoor time and physical health go hand in hand, it's obvious that nature lowers stress and has a positive impact on our wellness.
Benefits of Being Outdoors
Besides some of the obvious reasons such as physical fitness, green exercise can be great for self-esteem. The positive effects of being outdoors are apparent in the way hunters sleep after a long day of sitting out in the cold or walking through sloughs and fields
Similarly, a person's mood is consistently more positive after spending a day outdoors simply from breathing fresh air all day.
The way humans sleeps is called circadian rhythm. The circadian cycle is a naturally occurring internal process that regulates our sleep cycle and repeats every 24 hours or so. Spending too much time inside can cause our natural rhythms to get out of whack and cause us to sleep abnormally.
Differing light and dark levels brought on by the change of seasons can cause disruptions in the cycle, so those of us who spend time outdoors, despite the change in sunlight, have a better chance at sleeping well.
Plant circadian rhythms tell the plant what season it is and when to flower for the best chance of attracting pollinators. The same can be said for humans in a way, as good overall human health means an active immune system, meaning our white blood cells are in full attack mode when needed.
Seasonal affective disorder tends to occur in areas where sunlight is greatly lessened during certain times of the year, causing fatigue, depression and social withdrawal. To combat this, spending quality time outdoors helps absorb the greatest amount of sunlight possible, even at times when the sun does not rise until 7 a.m. or later, and goes down around 4:30 p.m.
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Benefits of Hunting, Fishing, Hiking and Camping
Research shows that natural light can cause vitamin D levels to increase and help cardiovascular flow. Overall, better health occurs when high blood pressure goes down and stress hormone levels decrease, creating a sense of well being both mentally and physically.
One of the best ways to do this is to take a walk and get some exercise.
Sure, you're going to need to stay hydrated, keep up your protein levels and avoid injury, but you'll be astonished at how easy it is to stay healthy with a regular dose of outdoor exercise.
It's likely that hunters reap the most benefits from the outdoor life, since they are among the most active practitioners. Not only do hunters actively move outside, but they stay outside for long periods doing healthy activities. They also tend to do the most thinking.
The active outdoor brain is very healthy. This is where we can forget the foibles of the day to begin the healing process we all need to thrive. Hunting and fishing both are a thinking man and woman's game where the host body may get you out there, but the mind finds success.
Any ardent hiker surely can benefit in this way, as can campers. Just because we pitch a tent, get the fire or the camp stove started and set up the camp chairs doesn't mean that we've stopped being outdoors!
Even relaxation has its outdoor benefits, and anyone who likes to socialize at the campground will tell you it's a great way to decompress. In fact, meeting new friends and having the time of your life doesn't hurt your mental well being, either!