Playing outdoors leads to better mental and physical health

Studies show that playing and being outside has a broad positive impact on your physical and mental health as a child and especially as an adult.

As a child, playing outside is all you ever wanted to do. However, with the technology age coming to pass, the time dedicated to being outside even as children, has lessened. Several studies show that playing and being outside has a broad positive impact on your physical and mental health as a child and especially as an adult.

Mental benefits

Whether it be sitting in a park, looking out the office window, or having a landscape as your desktop background, the mental benefits to simply experiencing nature are significant. Several studies have shown sitting or walking in nature will reduce the heart rate and lower existing mental stresses such as rumination, anxiety and depression.

It is also suggested that being outdoors for a period of time can improve memory and focus, and reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity in those diagnosed with attention-deficit disorders. This may be linked to increased activity in parts of the brain that are linked to empathy and emotional stability.

Physical benefits

Studies suggest a multitude of physical benefits that are a direct result of regularly being outdoors including reduced risks of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, mental health, and musculoskeletal issues. As going outdoors often results in exercise, those that do go out in nature find it easier to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes.

There are also the added benefits to your immunity. When outdoors our bodies go into what is referred to as “rest and digest” mode, where the body is able to relax and invest more resources in maintaining the immune system and mental wellbeing. On top of the exposure to a plethora of micro-organisms and bacteria that will naturally improve immunity, this element of relaxation will naturally improve white blood cell count to help combat a range of preventable diseases.

Being in nature also provides us with the very necessary vitamin, vitamin D. It can be hard to absorb through meals, and approximately 80 to 90 percent of vitamin D is actually absorbed from soaking in the sun.

What you can do

It’s as simple as increasing your time outdoors. Whether it be taking five minutes from your desk outside of the office to sit in the sun, a day trip to a national park for a hike and a dip, or giving yourself thirty minutes to walk around a park nearby your home. The benefits to being outside are reward enough.

For some great hiking destinations see our list of best hikes around Brisbane.