How Working Outside Can Improve Your Health
But I Work Inside
Most people in a career field find themselves indoors for the large majority of their day. Not only is their work indoors, but they may even come home and continue to stay inside for the rest of the evening. In some extreme cases, the only time they are outside is the time spent walking to and from their car! This is simply unacceptable. No more making excuses! Those of us who are familiar with working outside know there are too many benefits to allow excuses to get in the way. Whether you are mowing the lawn, tending a garden, raking leaves, trimming bushes, exercising, or even pulling weeds, working outside can take many forms. I'd like to briefly share with you just a few benefits to working outside that are specifically health-related.
"The Sunshine Vitamin"
Did you know that just by being outside you are absorbing nutrients? That's right, exposure to sunlight causes our bodies to absorb Vitamin D, which is why it is often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin." Vitamin D helps supply our body with the proper nutrients needed for things such as bone health, immune function, airway clearance, hormone regulation, and healthy hair follicles. Remember that next time you wonder why your hairline is receding! Of course, working outside (or playing outside) for too long can cause undesirably high levels of ultraviolet wave exposure from the sunlight. Make sure you use a healthy dose of sunscreen on all exposed areas of the skin with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.
The Air Really Is Fresher!
Now this one sort of depends on where you live. You could technically say that working in a coal mine is working outside, or that selling newspaper on a street corner in New York City is working outside, but that's not what we're talking about here. When I say working outside, I'm talking about being out with the grass and trees, maybe even a garden, and soaking in some good ol' fashioned sun rays. Because plants undergo photosynthesis, one of the by-products is pure oxygen. Not only that, but the air will be warmer and more humidified, which makes the whole process of ventilation and respiration easier on our lungs. This means that when you are working outside (given the conditions previously mentioned), your are more efficiently providing your body with the nutrients necessary to function. If access to warm and humidified air is made difficult for you based on your geographic location, an air humidifier would be a wise investment.
Space to MOVE
This one sounds intuitive, but it should not go under-appreciated. When you're working outside there's lots of... well, space! Often, when we are inside, we stay in only certain parts of the building without even realizing it. There is lots of sitting and almost never any running. When you're working outside, there is space to move around and do whatever you want! This affords more opportunities to move, which naturally promotes more movement, even if subconsciously. And let's face it, who couldn't use a little more movement in their lives?
How Long are You Outside on an Average Weekday?
"Cabin Fever" is a legitimate psychosocial effect of being indoors for what your body perceives as too long. Simply being outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air can have a physiological effect of releasing certain hormones like serotonin to improve your mood. If you are working outside, you get the added benefit of experiencing and accomplishing things that can improve your sense of self-esteem even more. We were not put on earth to stay inside all day long. There are too many benefits to working outside to neglect the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful day. So go outside and enjoy it!