Who here has been going on a lot of walks lately? With many businesses closed and physical distancing still encouraged, there isn’t much to do with your free time. But there is one thing you can usually count on: the great outdoors.
Whether it’s a simple walk around your neighborhood or a drive to the outskirts of town for a trek through the woods, connecting with nature is incredibly important for our mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five reasons why we love being outside, especially right now.
1. Enjoy meditation-like benefits
Do you feel a little more at ease when you step outside? The Cornell Daily Sun recently reported on the psychological, physiological, and attitudinal benefits from time spent in nature. A step outside the confines of your home can clear your mind and remove you from repetition, negative thoughts, and stress. Pro tip: make your daily outings extra restorative by trying walking meditation.
2. Walk for your heart
An afternoon walk in the park might hardly seem like a challenge to you, but studies have found that walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues by 31 percent for both men and women. Walking longer and at a faster pace further improves your chances at good heart health in the long run.
3. Get more all-important vitamin D
When you stay inside for days on end, you miss out on that immune-supporting superstar vitamin D, which your body can synthesize from sunlight. An important nutrient for your bones, blood cells, and immune system, vitamin D and its benefits give you more than enough reasons to snag a few minutes of sunshine. (Just make sure to keep taking your vitamin D supplements too!)
4. Let your creativity bloom
If you have a job that requires you to come up with exciting new ideas or you just want to write that award-winning screenplay you’ve dreamed of, a creative mind is essential. Engaging with nature can boost your creativity by stoking your attention and helping you refocus on new details in the world. Next time you have writer’s block, turn to the outdoors.
5. Appreciate what’s around you
If there’s one thing we can appreciate from this COVID-19 crisis, it’s that we’ve had to stop and think about what’s truly important, as well as appreciate amazing things that have been under our noses for years. When you get outside, it can help you discover a new sport you may be a master at, or a park a few blocks from your house that you never knew existed.
It’s so important to find some joy in the little things during this uncertain and anxious period. Make time in your day to get out, enjoy nature, and appreciate this beautiful planet we live on!