Five reasons to go outside today

American adults spend about 90% of their time indoors. That’s a shame because spending time outside can be health-changing. There are countless benefits to being in nature, soaking up the sun and breathing fresh air. And if you’ve been shut in during the pandemic, it’s way past time to get back to nature.

Still need convincing? Here are five key reasons to slather on your sunscreen and head outside today.

1.    Better health

Regular sun exposure can help lower your blood pressure, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and reduce your risk of heart attack. It also helps boost your vitamin D, which is essential for your overall health. (About 40% of adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to osteoporosis, cancer, heart attacks and strokes.)

2.    Deeper sleep

Struggling to snooze? Time in the sun helps set your internal sleep-wake clock, which can improve your quality of sleep. For additional support in getting a good night’s rest, be sure to watch Sleep Essentials, this month’s on-demand webinar from our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). (Company Code to log in: automation)

3.    Improved brain function

There’s a reason people often take a walk outside to clear their heads. Time outdoors is linked to improved focus, memory, mental clarity and creativity. One study even found that daily time can increase gray matter in the part of the brain associated with memory, decision-making and attention. So next time you want to increase your productivity at home or work, step outside.

4.    Happier mood

Spending time outside makes you happy! It’s known to increase serotonin levels—a natural mood booster—and help decrease stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Some research suggests that spending time outdoors has a similar effect on your health as meditating does.

Pro tip: Sit outside while listening to the Daily Calm on the Calm app. You’ll get an extra mood boost and earn $100 for completing the Take Action activity.

5.    Better workouts

According to WebMD, people work out longer and burn more calories when outdoors. That’s partly because outdoor elements, like wind, grass and uneven surfaces, contribute to your core strength, muscles and cardiovascular fitness.

Why not take advantage and complete your next Take Action activity outside? Swim, walk, ride, run or skate to complete 10K-A-Day, or join a local 5K as your Community Athletic Event.

Want to experience these benefits for yourself? Challenge yourself to spend five to 15 minutes a day outside, two to three times a week. Then take note of how you feel after a few weeks. Chances are, you’ll notice improvements in your health, mood, sleep and activity level—and you’ll be inspired to spend even more time in the great outdoors.