If you are a person who spends most of your time indoors for various reasons, then read on to find out why making an effort to get more outdoor time could boost not only your physical health but also increase your academic potential and performance.
Why You Should be Getting More Outdoor Time
Neglecting to spend enough time outdoors will affect your Vitamin D levels which is essential for brain functioning, fighting infections and preventing the development of autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D, aptly known as the sunshine vitamin, also helps your body to absorb calcium which is vital for bone-building.
Lack of exposure to natural light during the daytime confuses your body’s internal circadian rhythms which causes havoc with sleep patterns and can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Lack of restful sleep will not only have a negative effect on your academic performance but could contribute to rising stress levels and mood swings.
MOOD AND MEMORY BOOST
Low or higher intensity exercise, walking or running in the sunlight is the easiest way to absorb vitamin D seamlessly and since the best time of day to take in natural light is in the morning, it’s a great idea to consider combining more outdoor time with a manageable exercise routine a few times a week.
All you need to bump up your vitamin D levels is 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight once every two days. Not only would an outdoor exercise combination benefit your overall health but at the same time, you would be boosting your endorphin and serotonin levels. These chemicals both help to regulate mood and have a positive impact on your attention span, memory, appetite and digestion.
Cortisol, a hormone that acts as your body’s alarm system for stress, works with parts of your brain to control mood, motivation, anxiety and fear. If your body remains consistently in a state of high anxiety and stress, higher levels of cortisol can alter or shut down certain bodily functions. These include your digestive or reproductive systems, your growth processes and your immune system. Spending time outdoors naturally reduces anxiety and stress and can balance out cortisol levels, bringing your body back into a calmer place.
MENTAL HEALTH AND FOCUS
Unlike exercising indoors in the gym, spending time in outdoor terrain forces your body to become more alert and focused which benefits mental health.
Studies have shown that people who spend time in nature have better heart rates than those who spend long hours indoors. Thus, spending more outdoor time in nature, basically anywhere in your surroundings that has plants, birdlife and even running water, will be the cheapest medicine you can give to your body to enhance your physical and mental performance.
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