Six Science-Backed Reasons to Get Outside

Did you enjoy spending time outside as a kid? I did. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember spending much time inside, unless I was at school. I loved playing outdoors with pets we had over the years, including lots of dogs and cats, a couple rabbits, and a rooster that I treated like a baby. I enjoyed riding my bicycle and skateboard up and down the driveway. I reveled in turning cartwheels and doing handstands in the grass. I liked climbing trees and fishing with my grandmother at our little pond. I spent many hours on the cool ground, looking for lucky four-leaf clovers. Sometimes, I’d link together the little clover flowers to make a crown garland. On the playground at school, I delighted in running, jumping rope, and playing on the monkey bars and swing sets. What are your most cherished childhood memories of being outside?

I don’t remember being sick very often as a child, and I think all the time I spent outdoors had a lot to do with it. Research shows time and time again how Nature can benefit us. And just because we’re having to lay low now due to covid doesn’t mean we can’t get outside. Actually, being out in the elements is often a better bet than staying indoors.

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

  • In an article on the Centers for Disease Control website entitled Are There Benefits to Spending Time Outdoors?, it is reported that, due to benes such as the opportunity to be active and the sun’s role in producing vitamin D, being outside may elevate your overall health and wellness. If those were the only significant findings from science in this area, they’re reason enough to get out in Nature, wouldn’t you agree?
  • The EPA report Estimating Greenspace Exposure and Benefits for Cumulative Risk Assessment Applications, is a lengthy document which addresses many effects of the outdoors on public health. The findings of these multi-disciplinary studies include “improved cognition, attention restoration, and improved immune function.” Also, greenspaces can “reduce exposures to air pollution . . . and noise.” Kind of the opposite of what an indoor environment provides.
  • The Journal of Positive Psychology published Noticing Nature: Individual and Social Benefits of a Two-Week Intervention, an article describing a study of 3 groups of undergraduates assigned to pay attention to different environments: natural, man-made, and a control group with no change from the norm. The results of the study showed that those assigned the natural environment had more elevated experiences and felt more connected to others and life in general than the other 2 groups. In just two weeks’ time!

The earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • In the book they co-authored, Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight & Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration, Gina Bria and Dana Cohen, MD, talk about the ways our modern indoor work lives contribute to dehydrating us. (Check out my article Hydration – No, Really to learn just how critical proper hydration is.) Closed environments like offices, with bright artificial lights, screens and other electronics, air conditioning, heating, and even furniture and flooring, absorb vapor from the air. Modes of transportation, including cars, trains, and airplanes have super-low humidities. Now combine all that with the long periods of sitting that many of us do which constricts the flow of fluids in our bodies, and you understand how you can become a very dehydrated individual by the end of the day. That is, of course, unless you take regular action to stay hydrated. According to the book, drinking beverages like fresh lemon water and eating fruits like apples and grapes, as well as doing little things like opening a window, breathing deeply, keeping a plant on your desk, taking quick walks outside, and all movements, even fidgeting, help you stay hydrated. If you’re working remotely now, can you move your desk outside?
  • One of the few triple-board certified physicians in the country, Dr. Zach Bush, says that getting outside can enhance our overall health by diversifying the microbes in our guts. A healthy microbiome, according to Dr. Bush, consists of between 20,000 and 40,000 species of bacteria. He says that Americans, as a result of eating the standard American diet and regularly consuming antibiotics (via prescription and/or eating commercially raised livestock) typically have about 10% of that amount. Spending time in various natural environments can up that percentage. Think forests, waterfalls, lakes, beaches, deserts, rivers, and rainforests. They each have differing microbes that are just waiting to join and diversify the community of good bugs already present in your gut! (Learn more about the microbiome in my article Thinking Outside the COVID-19 Box: 10 Ways to Boost Immune Function.)

Spending time outdoors is not only fun, but also incredibly healthy, according to science. Maybe the fact that it makes us feels so good accounts for the many hours we spent playing in trees, dirt, and water as kids. And now, walking and biking in nature takes me out of my adult mindset and puts me in touch with a sillier, more playful part of myself. It still makes me feel like a kid.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Blessings for Time Outdoors,


The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

17 thoughts on “Six Science-Backed Reasons to Get Outside

  1. Lisa, your photography and written journey feels so much like listening to my grandmother’s “story telling” of her youth and being out of doors. Keep it up Sweet Girl, this is a gold mine for those who love adventure seasoned with facts.and inspiration. Love you, Betty

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for reminding me of the IMPORTANCE of spending time outdoors. I seem to live like a spider from time to times and like the spider, I eventually get trapped in my web. When I allow myself to spend time outdoors, especially with nature, I am able to let go of the clutter that I have amassed from everyday life. This then allows me the peace that I deserve to reconnect with my inner self.


  3. Get back to nature they said, it’ll be fun they said, as I scratch from the bug bites! Ha! But seriously, yes, we get out more that we live off grid in the country, and use natural bug repellents. ❤️🦋🌀


  4. Hi Lisa! You have a wonderful and inspiring blog. Thank you for sharing your travel experience and health recommendations. Very interesting. Nice to meet you and thanks for visiting and following Suitcase Travel blog. Angela

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When we are children we spend a lot of time outside, in the school garden, in the courtyards, in the sports field. Even in the winter they let us out. Instead as adults we tend to hole up at home. For example, I hate the winter in this area, because it is humid and causes me a lot of pain, and therefore if there is no sun I feel not very energetic and I do not go out even for a moment. Then on cold days it is impossible for me to be outdoors because I immediately get a terrible pain in a muscle (I had a muscle tear, not well cared for, in the right buttock) and so I have to give up. Sometimes I look at the people who pass out here, on bikes too, or who run, and I’m sad because I can’t even walk anymore. I only feel good in summer because I have no pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, perhaps you can look into getting a sun light lamp for the days you cannot go out. I tore a muscle in my shoulder years ago, and it healed, albeit with some scar tissue. I have to stretch it out and move it around more than other parts of my body, but otherwise, it’s pretty normal now. Wishing you less pain in the new year! 🌞


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