Here in the United States, it's the peak of summer and a time to explore the natural world around us. The sun, the sky and the grass are all great to look at but they're also great for your health too. Go figure right?
Whether you're thinking of taking your 10,000 steps
to the park or maybe exploring that hiking trail, here's a few reasons you should find the excuse to have some fun in the sun.
Natural Vitamin D
Get this vitamin the old fashioned way from the sun. Not only does it help with future bone problems but it's great for your heart, skin and more! Just make sure to cover up if you're going to be out for a long time. Learn more about Vitamin D
from Dr. Matt
Nature could help with memory, one study
shows. It's theorized more modernized settings like urban cityscapes are filled with too many stimuli that demand attention. Nature doesn't have flashing billboards so bring your studying or work outdoors for better recall.
There's a reason nature sound CDs and audio tracks are a thing. We seem drawn to nature whenever we want to relax. And that's not a coincidence. Stress hormones are lower after spending time in natural settings, according to studies like this one
and this one
. So hit the trails and let worry roam away.
Improved Mental Health
While there are many natural ways to help with your mental health like herbal supplements
, there's a lot of great advantages to just being outdoors. If you can manage to get yourself outside and walking, studies show a decrease in ADHD symptoms as well as restored mental capacity after "mental fatigue". It's also been documented
to help with depression, dementia and other mental symptoms. So call a friend if you need some help and wander the park together!
Not only has it been studied that being outdoors helps children develop better distance vision but it also gets everyone away from computer and television screens that can strain your eyesight
. Plus, nature is pretty. That's got to be worth something for your eyes, right?
The great outdoors offer all sorts of great activities, from hiking to swimming to sports. Going outside in a group promotes better socialization and anything that gets your blood pumping counts as exercise (that's how they tricked us as kids). Make an adventure out of it by geocaching, where you hike to a specific point on a map and explore new environments.
Now that you've decided to use that old bike or start catching magical animals on your cell phone (cough-cough), Team eVitamins is here to give you our seasoned advice on what to take with you. Depending on how long your trip is, you may want some extra advice from our Tips for Healthy Traveling
but here's some quick pointers for a day trip.
Be Prepared By:
Watering Up - Always stay hydrated. Take water with you, preferably in a reusable water bottle to help save the environment from wasteful plastic bottles and so you can refill it if you're out longer than necessary. Drink when you're thirsty and be aware of how much sweating you're doing. Having Sunscreen on Hand - We love Vitamin D but if you're going to be out in the sun for a long time, you'll need to lather up and be prepared to reapply every two hours or so. Even if the day is overcast, you can still burn your skin and that can increase your risk of skin disease. Don't forget to lips and feet too, especially if you're wearing sandals. Shielding Your Eyes - You're outside to give your eyes a break, don't let them burn! And yes, they can get burned. That's why your sunglasses should have UV-protection in the lenses. Hats are great for helping cut down glare that will keep from straining your eyes too. Treating Your Feet - Having the right equipment can save your feet a whole lot of pain later on. Walking and hiking shoes are vastly different so make sure you're wearing appropriate footwear for the task you're setting out on. Flip-flops rarely have the support needed for longer walks. Keep feet dry and wear clean socks. Take care of any blisters or other foot problems as soon as you can to keep them from worsening. Staying Bug Free - It hasn't been too long since Lyme Awareness Month so hopefully you remember that bugs are the worst. You can catch more than Lyme from what lurks outside so keep them off with bug sprays or lotions. Always check for ticks after venturing outside and treat bug bites as soon as you return from your trip so they don't grow more irritated and infected. Keeping Up You Energy - If you're gone for a day-long hike or even just for an hour, you need to keep your energy up. Bars with good carbohydrate and protein numbers keep you going without heavy sugars or fats and derailing your weight goals. And of course keep any dietary needs in mind like blood sugar requirements.
Alright, I think you're ready to go outside. I know, it's scary out there. Take a friend. And believe it or not, you can enjoy nature with the help of technology. Cell phones are great for not getting lost and calling for help in an emergency and GPS can help you navigate difficult-to-read trails when you're directionally-impaired like me. (Which way is North again?)