8 Benefits of Being Outdoors (Creating a Happier & Healthier You)

There are copious benefits of being outdoors for your mental health, but what are these benefits and how exactly do they work? 

From relieving stress to improving memory and even increasing your life expectancy, there are various benefits of being outdoors that you ought to know about. 

So, if you’ve ever wondered “why does being outdoors make you happy?” this article is for you. 

Kick-starting our list of benefits of being outdoors is that it can help you to relieve stress.

#1 – Relieves Stress 

Whether it’s work, school, or relationships, getting outdoors can help to take your mind off those stresses and provide the opportunity for you to have some thinking time while creating some physical distance from the problem.

The science behind this is that when you spend time in nature, your stress hormone, cortisol, is lowered. 

The longer than one spends in the wilderness, the lower your cortisol levels become. 

This works for those who simply walk around their local park or venture further afield to a mountain rage. 

It’s important to carve out time from your busy schedule to go for a walk as frequently as you can. 

Plus, going out for a walk is a cost-effective way of relieving stress while also helping you to burn a few calories in the process.

Many people will go to the pub or order a takeaway when they’re stressed when what your brain really wants is to immerse in nature. 

This, in turn, boosts your mental well being thus creating a happier you. 

In short, there are a plethora of mental health benefits of being outdoors and relieved stress is one of them. 

#2 – Alleviates Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression 

With the previous point in mind, walking outdoors can help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression, another one of the fantastic benefits of being outdoors. 

Cortisol levels are higher in those that have anxiety and depression and so they will likely feel more stressed compared with the average person. 

Over time, lower cortisol levels will help to reduce stress symptoms of such conditions. 

Now, this isn’t to say that going for a walk is a sole treatment for anxiety and depression.  

You should always seek advice from a professional, however, getting out for a walk each day can have positive effects on your mental wellbeing which is why it’s super important to allocate some time out of your day to reduce stress hormones. 

So, if you approached this article wondering “how does physical activity and being outdoors affect mental health?”

Hopefully you now know that a lowered cortisol level can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and so is another one of the benefits of being outdoors. 

#3 – Strengthens your Immune System 

As well as there being a collection of psychological benefits of being in nature, there are physical benefits of being outdoors too. 

Contrary to what many may think, staying indoors can have a negative effect on your immune system. 

You may think that limiting your contact with other people will keep you healthy and safe, whereas it has the opposite effect.

Your immune system will weaken and so when you do come in contact with a cold, your body finds it much harder to fight it off than if you spent more time outdoors in the first place. 

Plus, it’s scientifically proven that those who spend more time outdoors have a higher white blood cell count. 

This means that should the body feel the need to go into defence mode to fight off bacteria, it has more white blood cells to hand to do so more quickly then if you stayed indoors all the time. 

Getting outdoors, therefore, is good for your immune system and is something you should do frequently if you want to reap the physical benefits of being outdoors. 

#4 – Aids Weight Management

Another great benefit of being outdoors each day is that it can aid weight management.

Walking is a great way to help you to burn a few extra calories in the day without having to go to the gym and endure through an intense, sweaty workout. 

There’s absolutely no need to invest in a flashy gym membership when you can get out for a walk each day. 

As a general rule of thumb, 100 calories are burnt per mile of walking. This is for a 180-pound individual. 

For a 120-pound person, approximately 65 calories are burned per mile. 

Even if you’re not someone who necessarily wants to lose weight, a nice by-product of getting out for a walk each day is that you can burn a couple of pounds here and there. 

So, if you approached this article wondering “how does physical activity and being outdoors affect mental health?”

Hopefully you now know that a walk a day can aid weight management which another one of the benefits of being outdoors. 

#5 – Better Short-Term Memory

Did you know that walking in nature each day can help to improve your short-term memory? 

A University of Michigan study investigated the effects that walking in different environments had on 2 groups’ short-term memory.

One group walked through a woodland whereas the other group walked through a city. 

Those that walked through the woodland improved their memory scores by 20% compared with the group that walked through a city. 

Natural scenery helps to calm the mind and enhance focus. 

Since urban settings are full of traffic, noise, and distractions, your attention is pulled in various different places. 

Immersing in nature is a great way to improve your short-term memory and is something that is encouraged to be done with age as a weakened memory is an increased concern with age. 

So, as well as there being some incredible benefits of being outdoors for mental health, knowing that you can also improve your short-term memory is another fantastic by-product. 

#6 – Boosts Life-Expectancy 

Another one of the amazing benefits of being outdoors is that you actually boost your life-expectancy. 

A 2015 study found that individuals who lived near parks, lawns, trees, and forests had significantly lower mortality than those that lived far from nature. 

This is thought to be an association with better air quality as well as access to nicer environments in which individuals wanted to explore and exercise within. 

Moreover, living in natural areas helps to boost mental wellbeing and happiness which has links to extended life expectancy.

All of these factors help to improve heart health which, in turn, can help to boost life-expectancy. 

#7 – Help you Connect to Those in your Local Community 

Have you ever wondered – “why does being outdoors make you happy?”

Well, connecting with those in your local area can help to boost your mood and create positive relationships. 

Why not stop for a chat and ask how someone’s day is going? 

This is especially so for those that you see frequently and can be a fantastic opportunity to get to know like-minded people in your community. 

#8 – Reduces Loneliness 

With the previous point in mind, the more that you immerse into nature and get to know those in your community, the less lonely you can become. 

Loneliness is something that many experience with age and so the more that individuals walk in their day to day life, the less chance of them experiencing loneliness.

So, if you’re someone who started reading this article wanting to get a better understanding of the various benefits of being outdoors, knowing it can combat loneliness is another fantastic reason. 

Conclusions… 

Knowing the benefits of being outdoors can help you to reap a collection of amazing things.  

Whether you wanted to know the mental health benefits of being outdoors or the physical positives, we hope that you now know how you can go about enhancing your lifestyle by immersing yourself in nature. 

So, if you started reading this article wondering “why does being outdoors make you happy?”

We hope you know how to answer that very question! 

25 thoughts on “8 Benefits of Being Outdoors (Creating a Happier & Healthier You)”

  1. Walking helps in managing stress and anxiety. It helps in weight management. I used to walk upto 6kms a day. Now it’s hot summer and I am not able to find motivation to walk. But I will try again. Walking under the canopy of trees and a river on the side is always pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having access to green spaces is really important. Even having photo’s of plants around you can have a positive effect. That’s just how important green spaces are to humans. I wrote an article on green spaces about a year ago, hence knowing just how important going outside can be

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post!! It made me think that I should start working remote from the botanical gardens instead of inside! Maybe this also ties in to why dog owners have lower blood pressure – if they have to walk their dog a few times a day, it forces them to go outside and reap the benefits you mentioned in your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just love the outdoors, I try my best to go out most days because it makes me feel so much better! I always feel less stressed outside 🙂 Some wonderful points

    Like

  5. Oh I love this! I always find that being outside alleviates my stress levels and brings me a sense of calm, but I never knew it helped short term memory – that’s really interesting to know! Thanks for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Incredible post! Spending time outdoors has always improved my focus and lowered stress levels. I never knew that it could improve memory as well! I can’t wait to spend more time outdoors now that the weather is getting warmer. Thank you for sharing this post! I’m eager to get outside now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so perfect to encourage people to get outside now that spring is here! Winter walks are a little hard for me, but warm weather and sunshine make me eager to get outdoors for a walk. I also love to sit down by my pond or garden. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As someone who lived in Jamaica 🇯🇲 and is now living in NYC, i appreciate ean more the ability I had to just sit in my back yard under a tree eating mangos and chilling in nature.

    I totally agree that outdoor activities, especially in nature, has a huge positive impact on one’s mental health. Even having plants in your home adds a naturistic feel to the space.
    I see why people in the Caribbean are so much happier.

    Like

  9. I never realised how much getting out the house helps with mental health until covid hit! I spend a lot of time indoors due to illness so when I feel well enough, I love getting outside in the fresh air to help both physically and mentally. Brighton has some great places to walk which is a bonus! Thank you so much for sharing this with us lovely Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

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  10. I already knew that spending time outdoors is beneficial but I was not aware of all these benefits you mention. I will definitely start spending even more time outside. Thank you for this!

    Like

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