“Nature itself is the best physician.” – Hippocrates
This morning I decided to exercise outside and after doing so, I felt rejuvenated, focused, and ready to take on the day! Due to the constant grind of life, we oftentimes overlook all of the benefits that going outside has on our bodies, minds, and souls!
Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphate in our bodies which help keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Regular sun exposure (min. of 10-15 minutes a day) is the most natural way to get enough Vitamin D. Even if you are stuck in a dungeon away from natural light while you work, use your break times to strategically go and get some sun on your skin. Weather permitting, you can exercise outside, sit outside and do some reading, or eat breakfast or lunch outside. For those of you in colder climates, take your 10-15 minute break near a window each day as this still allows the sun and all of its positive effects to soak into your body. Additionally, putting your bare feet in grass, soil, sand, or the ocean has great benefits for the mind and body and is typically known as earthing.
Furthermore, by soaking up some sunshine each day (preferably in the morning), our sleep improves dramatically. Being outside also has positive impacts on our mood as we are happier and less stressed when we allow our bodies to soak up the natural healing properties that our sun provides! Even on an overcast day, the sun’s rays will make their way through and positively influence your hormone function.
Even as I write the first draft of this message, I am outside. Sundays are the only days I intentionally don’t consume any caffeine, so it is typically a bit harder to get these messages started and build that momentum. However, I feel more naturally energized, focused, and zoned in by creating this outside than any artificially induced energy from a triple espresso could ever do for me. More sunshine, less java, anyone?
We think clearer when we are outside in nature. It doesn’t matter if we are on top of a mountain in Montana, or taking a lap outside of the apartment complex, when we allow the earth’s natural energy into our body, new and innovative ideas tend to flow freely, naturally, and with ease. Nature’s benefits might include increases in energy, focus, mood, heart health, creativity, curiosity, problem solving and empathy. They also might include decreases in anxiety, stress, depression, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and obesity.
Being indoors for a majority of the week isn’t natural and can lead to some real side effects. Now more than ever, it is vital to pry ourselves away from our phones and get outside. Tristan Harris poses an intriguing question, “The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices?”
Suicide rates, depression, anxiety, and stress are at an all-time high and if we don’t learn how to pry ourselves away from our computer screens, phones, and other electronic devices, unplug and reconnect with nature, sunshine, and solitude, we aren’t able to use or optimize our bodies and minds to their full potential.
Action Item: I’d like you to set aside a minimum of 10-15 minutes per day where you leave your phone and all other technology inside, and go outside. Some great times to do this are in the AM before you start working or right after lunch. Both are solid options and will help to increase and regulate your focus, energy, and mood throughout the day.
Enjoy what comes of today!