Good morning! I was presenting at our local WWAD this past Saturday when this came up. “Are we going to walk inside or outside this winter?” Well, the subject line and beautiful new logo above provide an ample hint. But, let’s break it down. What are the benefits of being outside and walking/hiking in nearby parks and public lands? Sorry, to interrupt David. What are public lands? Ha! No worries. Don’t tell anyone but I had to look it up as well. In short, they are areas of land and water that are open to the public and managed by the government. These may include local parks and rec areas, state parks, or national parks and spaces. Here’s the argument I am going to make for our group this Saturday. First, I will tell everyone I like their socks (sets the tone), then…
Friends these are Five HUGE Benefits of being outside:
- Reduces stress – OMG do we all need this more than ever right now. In our cardiology office, there has been a sharp uptick in stress/anxiety since this all started in March 2020. Just looking at trees lowers our cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline. That’s right, you don’t even have to hug them! While our Covid numbers are thankfully improving, if we can use less media and more outside = good, good, good. (I just threw the media under the bus there, sorry media.)
- Improved sleep – oh, yes! So many of us wish we could improve our sleep (and do it without pills!). Being outside during the day helps us sleep better at night. Improved sleep helps number 1 (and everything else) even more.
- Improved immune system – with the pandemic, the attention of the world has been focused on getting our immune system ‘ready to go’. For that, we should get outside! Vitamin D, phytoncides, and killer T cells are just a few ways that nature will rev us up to fight off viruses (like you-know-who). *our whole WWAD HQ is fully vaccinated and we recommend you also get vaccinated.
- Relieves pain – as we get older, some of us have aches/pains. ‘Green exercise’ is a great way to reduce your pain. Why not? Come to a Walk with a Doc near you!
- Makes us happy! Yes, this is separate and additional to reducing stress. Being outside releases all of these great internal happy chemicals that you don’t necessarily get by being inside.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to talk too much at the beginning of Saturday’s walk. We’re there to enjoy each other and check out our beautiful surroundings. Evidence shows that you can see great health benefits of being outdoors with only 120 minutes per week, so we’ll be getting well over half of that as a group.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Happy Friday! David
Thanks to everyone who supported Walk with a Doc on Giving Tuesday as we celebrated Walk Champion Appreciation Day!