8 Simple Ways to Spend More Time Outside
Most of us are stuck indoors for most of the day. We wake up in our house, drive to work in a car, spend most of the day chained to a desk inside an office, and then go home to spend the evening inside cooking dinner for the family and capping the night off with a movie or a little binge of our new favorite tv show on Netflix. In fact, according to a survey done by the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, most people spend an average of 87% of their time within enclosed buildings and another 6% of their time inside an enclosed vehicle. That’s a whopping 93% of your life spent indoors, and just a measly 7% spent outdoors. Yikes. Clearly, we need to find ways to spend more time outside.
Being outside is important
But why is it important to spend more time outside? Well, for starters, the sun is outside! While you should always protect yourself with sunscreen and other methods, there are plenty of wonderful health benefits of sunshine in moderation!
In fact, maybe we need a little more sunshine than we think.
Reports show that about 42% of the US population is vitamin D deficient, with certain populations having even higher levels of deficiency. Sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” our primary source of vitamin D is produced in our bodies as a response to direct sunlight. Along with supplying us with vitamin D, the health benefits of sunshine include:
- Improves sleep
- Fights depression/Improves mood/Reduces stress
- Weight management
- Strengthens immune system
- Reduces risk of disease
- Heals skin conditions
- Bone health
- And so much more!
Almost half of America isn’t getting enough of these health benefits of sunshine! And it’s no wonder since the function of modern society has us indoors over 90% of our lives by default. So unless we make a little effort to change that, we will essentially spend most of our lives in a box. And what a shame, because the outdoors is awesome!
But maybe you feel that, because of work and the way your life is structured, you just aren’t able to make much extra time to spend outside. No worries! While going on a long hike outside every day would be nice, you don’t have to make that kind of commitment to get more outside hours. There are little things you can do throughout your day to spend more time outside. And we have some ideas for simple ways to do just that!
- Spend your lunch break outside
- Ride your bike to work or to run errands
- Do yard work and start a garden
- Trade the gym for outdoor workouts
- Work outside instead of in an office
- Try out nature photography
- Go to the zoo!
- Give your tv a break
1. Spend your lunch break outside
If you, like most of America, are stuck inside an office for work all day, one easy way to spend more time outside is to take your lunch break outdoors. Whether you bring your lunch or have to go somewhere to grab some, take it to go! Find a picnic table or spread out a blanket picnic style and fill up on some warm sunshine while you fill up on grub. A bit of sunshine might also help relieve a little of that midday work stress.
2. Ride your bike to work or to run errands
This one might not be possible for everyone depending on where you live. But if possible, a great way to spend more time outside (and get in some extra exercise!) is to ride your bike around instead of driving your car whenever you can. You might be able to ride your bike to work, to the store for essentials, to the bank, etc. And if you enjoy the ride, you might even want to take up off-road biking!
3. Do yard work and start a garden
Another great way to spend more time outside and update your curb appeal is to do some landscaping projects in your yard! Mow the grass, plant some flowers, and maybe even install a water feature. Have you ever wanted to give gardening a try? There’s no better time than now! A garden is a great way not only to spend more time outside, but also to stay active, enjoy a healthy and interesting hobby, grow healthy food, and spend time with family if you make it a project with your kids!
4. Trade the gym for outdoor workouts
If you mostly go to the gym to work out, why not exchange some of that gym time for the outdoors? Outdoor workouts are an excellent way to spend more time outside and stay healthy. Even if you have some strict workout goals that you might need a gym for (hello, weights!), you can still mix up your routine with some outdoor cardio. Go for a run or a jog through your favorite park. Or take it easy and go for a simple, restful walk by a lake. In fact, there are many health benefits of simply walking for exercise, including:
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens heart
- Boosts immune function, reduces risk of chronic disease
- Delays onset of varicose veins
- Alleviates joint pain
- Boosts energy
- Better sleep
- Improves mood
- Promotes mental clarity and creativity
- Releases tension
- Increases vitamin D
- Motivates you to achieve other goals
5. Work outside instead of in an office
Many businesses have shifted to the remote working model. Or maybe you’re a self-employed freelancer. Either way, there are more people than ever working from home in some capacity, and all you need is a Wi-Fi connection. If that’s you, a productive way to spend more time outside is to get creative and bring your work and your laptop outdoors! Create a Wi-Fi hotspot from your phone if you’re not near a signal. Being able to work anywhere is one of the major benefits of remote working, so take advantage of it and make your office a pleasant outdoor location such as:
- A shady park
- Your backyard
- The lake
- A sandy beach
- A botanical garden
- The zoo
- The outdoor patio of your favorite cafe
- The possibilities are endless!
6. Try out nature photography
If you’re looking for a way to spend more time outside and also looking for a new hobby, consider nature photography! Nature photography takes you outside by definition and can be a creative and stimulating hobby for just about anyone.
7. Go to the zoo!
When was the last time you went to the zoo? If it’s been a while, maybe it’s time to head to your local zoo and give the animals a visit! Not only is going to the zoo fun for adults and kids and a way to support wildlife conservation efforts, but it’s also a sneaky way to spend more time outside. Most zoos have excellent membership programs so you can save money if you plan to go several times, and why not? Especially if you live in Texas we have some wonderful zoos, a couple of which are some of the best zoos in the nation. A membership to any one of the best zoos in Texas (or any AZA-accredited zoo) supports wildlife conservation, gives you access to exclusive features, and usually a significant discount at the zoo gift shop.
8. Give your tv a break
The easiest way to spend more time outside is simply to turn off the tv and spend the time you’re normally rewatching The Office for the hundredth time and go outside instead. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your shows and movies entirely. However, mix it up with a few evenings sipping cocktails outside watching the sunset, reading in your backyard, or discovering a new hobby like nature photography or gardening as mentioned earlier. Or, if you just can’t make it an evening without relaxing to a movie, try going to a drive-in movie theater every now and then.
Like this content and want more? Read more about tips for outdoor activities here. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at Dock Line Magazine so you don’t miss out on getting more free content like this straight to your email!