As many people in the outdoor world know, a day spent outside feels much better than a day spent inside. In recent years there have been various studies released explaining the physical and mental health benefits of spending quality time in the outdoors.
One of these studies, performed by students at Griffith University, Australia, determined that the national parks around the world are worth roughly $6 trillion in mental health care costs. The researchers monitored the changes of 20,000 sampled individuals’ sleep cycles, cognition, stress, and anxiety or depression levels based on the frequency of time spent in nature over a 12-month time frame. In the end, the result was clear that mental health did improve due to time spent in the outdoors.
A sum of money this large, you’d think, would be reason enough to influence an economic change but has yet to. In 2018 the United States economy received $40 billion from national parks but the National Park Service budget was a measly $2.6 billion. So why isn’t the money being turned around to help preserve and improve these delicate ecosystems that offer so much? The economy over the years has been geared towards production instead of preservation but with the proper motivation and facts, this can change.
What about the winter months?
While summers are enjoyed by welcoming rays of warm sunshine and blue skies, the winter bites back with chilling wind and dark days. Don’t let this stop you though, spending time out in the cold snowy weather has also been proven to have many positive health benefits. If you are really clever you can turn this into a doctor’s note and play hookie on a powder day for “mental health reasons”.
According to the, Wim Hof Method, there are an abundance of reasons to get out and enjoy the cold weather. Cold exposure increases one’s metabolism activity, enhances immune system functions, improves mood and aids in a faster recovery and a decrease in inflammation. Cold exposure is also credited towards building stronger mental fortitude, personal discipline, and increased creativity.
So, may it be the middle of the summer or a subzero day in January, remember, it is always worth going outside for some fresh air. Our bodies are meant to move and be outdoors, so let them, and in return you’ll feel rejuvenated and relaxed for whatever the next task may be.