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Leaving the Great Indoors

Leaving the Great Indoors

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time inside – hunched over a computer, with artificial lights overhead and recycled air circulating around you. It’s not the best environment. In fact, research shows that spending too much time indoors can result in:

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Obesity – due to too much couch potato time

  • Greater respiratory problems – due to dust, mold & bug dander being recycled

  • Not enough Vitamin D – which can lead to depression

  • Higher risks of cancer & heart disease

If the above sounds familiar, you may be suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder – a term that refers to people getting disconnected from nature. Many people cite weather (too hot, cold and/or windy) as their number one reason for not going outside – busy lifestyle is a close second. The point is, we need more outdoor time with natural light to feel our best.

This can be tricky for many of us because, unless we have jobs as forest rangers, we tend to be stuck indoors for the best part of the day. Spending regular time outdoors involves making a conscious choice to do just that – on an ongoing basis. But there are some worthwhile benefits of making that choice, including:

  • A boost to your vitality by nearly 40%

  • Lower levels of frustration

  • Better mental health & improved mood

  • Reduced sensations of pain

  • Milder symptoms of attention-related disorders among kids

  • Improved focus

  • Feelings of relaxation

  • A sense of connection to the world

I’m in my 60th year and I choose years ago to spend regular time outside. It isn’t always enjoyable or convenient but it is necessary for my well-being. I run 4 mornings a week and have 3 little dogs that I walk twice a day. In the winter (like now!) I bundle up warmly and run or walk briskly. In the summer I get up very early (it gets really hot in Texas!) and get my running done before the sun comes up – at least it’s bearable then. Once I get home from work I can’t wait to get outside; I feel calmer, happier and more relaxed.

You may have to rearrange your day but I encourage you to get outdoors on a regular basis. Your improved physical, mental & emotional health will be worth it!

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