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5 Hidden Benefits To Making Time To Go Outside

by Jamie Allers, RDN


Check out some of the reasons we love to get outside. You might be surprised at how much this simple action has to offer! Set your goal to get outside daily for a week and we bet you’ll notice a new pep in your step!

Fight Non-Hunger Related-Eating

Getting outside and eating? How can these things be connected outside of a picnic at a park? Well, let us explain…

We can often find ourselves stopping by the fridge or pantry in the afternoon or after dinner-is it because we are hungry? Or maybe we are bored, tired, stressed, craving, frustrated after a long day…everything but hungry!

Imagine if you found 15 minutes during these times to get outside for a lap around the block or to take a seat on the back porch in the sun to watch the clouds for a bit? A few minutes of distraction and fresh air can help us to avoid grazing and non-hunger-related eating to keep us on track towards our ultimate health goals. Try it! It is amazing how this distraction can improve our eating habits!

Practice Moving (or Standing!) Meditation

Meditation does not have to be done sitting inside listening to a specific recording. Get outside and notice your surroundings. It is a great way to calm your mind and relax. Next time you are taking a walk or even just standing outside waiting to cross the street, start to notice everything around you. Find everything green you see, count the birds that fly by, take deep breaths and long exhales as you look at the scenery. Focusing on what is around you can give your thinking mind a break, which is so important for stress reduction.

Increase your Immune System Function

Here is where we talk Vitamin D! The sun is the best way to get your vitamin D, so take advantage of it when you can! If you live in New England, studies have shown that vitamin D levels seem to be at their peak around September and their lowest around March. So, when winter starts to calm down, get out there in April and replenish your Vitamin D levels! Vitamin D is important for protecting your immune system, lowering the risk of chronic disease, promoting bone health, and supporting a healthy weight. More than one reason to catch those rays.

A Free Gym Membership

With the current social distancing practices in place, some gyms have closed, have limited capacity or you may not feel comfortable getting back to the gym yet. Even if you were not a gym go-er before, you may not have a home gym set up or equipment. With the great outdoors we all have a gym membership at a great price, $0.00! Pick a hilly neighborhood and you have a HIIT workout. Look for steps at a park or the bleachers at a local school and you have a stair master. Pick a soft, flat, cleared dirt path for a supportive steady-state treadmill. Pick up a few branches while you’re walking for some bicep curls maybe? There are also local parks around that have free public equipment- monkey bars, push up/pull up bars, ab benches just to name a few- so check out your local areas!

Improve your Sleep

Getting outside during the day helps our body’s natural sleep cycle. Exposure to light/sun during the day and darkness when it is time for sleep assists with our body’s clock, so we fall and stay asleep. Quality of sleep is important for health (including weight loss and weight maintenance!) Taking a few minutes during the day to spend time in natural sunlight is worth it. Try it consistently and notice how your sleep may improve!

Remember these benefits and encourage yourself to get out there! If you need help creating a routine and need more accountability- Reach out and get connected with our providers at Pounds.


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