When the sun is shining and the weather is nice, many of us get the desire to head outdoors. And when you consider the benefits, spending time in nature is something we all should do. From a happier mood to less stress, there are many reasons to get outside.

Hit the Trail 4 Benefits of Being Outdoors

1. You'll Get a Vitamin D Boost

Responsible sun exposure allows your body to produce vitamin D, which may help:

  • Protect against heart attack and stroke

  • Prevent or improve depression

  • Protect against osteoporosis

An estimated 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. However, a little dose ofsunshine can help reverse this trend and keep your vitamin D level at a healthy range.

2. Your Mood Will Improve

Have you ever taken a walk to clear your head or just felt happier after a walk at the park? You're not alone. As it turns out, spending time in nature, even for just a few minutes, can lift your mood.

A study from King's College London found that being exposed to the sky, trees and birdsongs helps your psychological health. In addition, recent research from Cornell University found that just 10 minutes in nature can help you feel happier and less stressed.

Taking a walk around the block or joining a hike on the YMCA nature trail can brighten your day and put a smile on your face.

3. You'll Move More

Being outdoors doesn't necessarily mean being more active. Quiet meditation or a rest in the park can do wonders for your mood. But you're more likely to be active when you're in a natural setting.

Whether you're hitting the trail, exploring the trees and flowers or just looking for a quiet spot off the beaten path, being out in nature encourages you to move and be active. Something as simple as cleaning up the yard, digging in the garden or going for a bike ride around the neighborhood can keep your body in motion while reaping the other benefits of being outdoors.

4. You'll Feel Calmer and Less Stressed

Think about the last time you went for a walk or sat outside for more than just a few minutes. How did the experience make you feel? Chances are, you felt a little calmer and less stressed.

Being in a natural setting allows you to forget your cares and worries. Taking a break from a stressful routine can help you be more productive and creative when you return from the great outdoors. In fact, research shows that exposure to nature can help improve your:

  • Memory

  • Cognitive function

  • Focus

Remember – all it takes is just a few minutes to enjoy the calming benefits of being outdoors.

The Takeaway

Being outdoors offers numerous benefits. And with research showing that the majority of adults spend less than 5 hours per week outdoors, we all could use a little more nature in our lives.

We encourage our members to spend more time outdoors and join our nature trail hikes. It's an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature and make new friends.