Five Benefits of Spending Time Outside

Posted: July 03, 2019 | Author: Kevin Koontz | Read Time: 3 minutes

When John Muir wrote, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks,” he seemed to inherently understand something that science has only lately been able to substantiate. Spending time outside is good for you. Recent academic research reveals that there are significant benefits to going outside and being exposed to nature. Here are just 5 of the ways that getting outside can improve your health and overall well-being.

student looking off at brian head

Five Benefits to Getting Outside

Health & Exercise

What sounds more appealing, an hour-long workout in a gym or an hour spent hiking an alpine trail? Research shows that people that take their workouts outside are more enthusiastic about exercising for longer periods of time and even more often. Additionally, while trying to reach that next summit, just spending time at high altitudes will speed up your metabolism, which can help lessen hunger cravings and shed pounds. All good reasons to get off the treadmill and out of the climate-controlled gym.

Increase Brain Function/Clear Your Mind

Several new studies show that just a short 20-minute walk in nature can improve short-term memory by up to 20% and improve the brain’s ability to focus. These nature strolls can even increase your creativity, leading to originality and innovation. When you find yourself struggling to stay attentive at your desk a walk around the block or across campus may be all that you need.

Reduce Stress

By using the hormone cortisol as a marker, researchers have been able to measure the intensity of stress and anxiety. They have found significantly lower concentrations of cortisol in people that spend more time outdoors meaning those folks also have decreased levels of stress, blood pressure, and heart rate. Even a view of nature from a window can lower stress and lead to increased job satisfaction. Another benefit of that corner office.

Be Social

In our age of convenience and instant gratification, it can become difficult to pull ourselves away from the screens that connect us to social media or our favorite streaming service. Recent experiments have found that physical activities with others lead to stronger social bonds and deeper relationships. Stop living vicariously through the friends on your Instagram feed and go experience things for yourself. Take a walk with a friend, go camping with your roommate, or even enroll in an outdoor skills course like climbing or horsemanship.

Become Happier

There is a theory that people respond positively to things that are good for us. Nature offers us shade, food, comfort, and so much more, which is why we find our attitude lifted when we spend time along a wooded trail or out on the lake. So ditch the anti-depressant medications and consider an option with no side effects.


Now that you are aware of all of the benefits that come with being outdoors, take Muir’s advice from his book The Mountains of California, and go “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

Tags: Student Outdoors

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