5 powerful health benefits of spending time outdoors

It’s so much more important than you’d think!

woman in woods
(Image credit: Maridav / Shutterstock)

If you’re like me, you would have practically grown up on the idea that fresh air can help cure any ailment you may have. Whether I was feeling slightly under the weather, tired or even bored, I was marched outside to reap the benefits that the outdoors would bring. 

As I’ve gotten older, I now see why my parents made it such a priority. There is something so freeing about stepping outside to clear your mind when you’re in a rut, especially as a writer. My lunchtime walk is now something I look forward to every day, and it really helps me come back in the afternoon feeling refreshed and ready to start writing again.   

This huge boost in my productivity made me start thinking about how else being outside can help my wellbeing, and that’s what I’d love to share with you! 

However, before stepping outside, always remember to apply SPF! Read about why you should apply it daily for more information! 

1. It can ease depression symptoms

Struggling with depression can feel like an uphill battle. Whilst I’m not saying that going outside will cure you (even though I wish it could), sunlight is known to help ease depression symptoms such as low mood and fatigue. This is particularly true if you have seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD, which is caused by a lack of sunlight and vitamin D. Have a look at the signs you may be suffering from SAD if you’re not sure!

2. It will reduce your stress levels 

With so many of us working from home these days, it’s easy to bring the stress from work into our personal spaces. Spending time outside has been shown to lower stress levels and is known to save a similar effect on your brain and body as that of meditating. Stepping away from whatever may be troubling you is a wonderful way to calm your thoughts and gather yourself before going forward with your day. 

3. It will improve your sleep

It’s very normal for your internal body rhythm to follow that of the sun, making you feel awake during the daytime and sleepy at night. It’s important to make sure you expose yourself to the sun and natural light so this pattern stays in place, helping you feel more tired at night and therefore improving the quality of your rest. 

4. It can protect your sight

There’s also evidence to suggest those who spend plenty of time outside have a lower chance of developing myopia, or nearsightedness. Experts say that light offers a brighter and richer collection of light wavelengths to see with, therefore stimulating the retina of your eyes to produce dopamine and preventing them from stretching out and impacting your vision. Forget eating carrots, taking a walk in the sunshine is so much better for you! 

5. It will help you connect to those around you

Having strong, healthy and supportive relationships with those around us is a hugely important factor for our mental wellbeing. Studies also show that when using outdoor spaces to spend time with those important to you, your dopamine levels increase drastically. It’s also a free or low-cost opportunity to get together with your loved ones! 

Not sure about where to start? Why don’t you try wild swimming? Have a read about the health benefits of wild swimming so you know what to expect!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.