If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, then you probably know that the hours you spend in nature are good for you — usually. The fresh air and scent of natural objects like dirt and trees can actually release happy hormones into your brain, and coupled with exercise (which does the same thing), can help mitigate depression or anxiety. And sunlight itself provides Vitamin D, which supports your bone, muscle, and immune health. What could be better?
Perhaps the better question is “what could be worse?”
Breast cancer misdiagnosis attorney Devan Peters said, “Cancer is a tricky beast. We can list dozens of carcinogens, cancer-causing agents, to avoid, but we can’t pinpoint the one that catalyzed the growth of cancerous cells in a specific person’s body. If we can ever do that, we might be able to devise better treatments and prevention techniques, and even personalize them from individual to individual. This would make recovery more likely, and cut down on cancer rates across the country.
One of those aforementioned carcinogens is ultraviolet radiation, which, as you know, is pretty much connected to sunlight. How do you get your daily dose of Vitamin D without putting yourself at risk for cancer? Easy: where sunscreen every time you go outdoors, even if the sun isn’t shining. You can get a burn even on a cloudy day, and if there’s any light at all, then your body is absorbing UV rays.
Once you smear on that sunscreen, being outdoors has other benefits as well. It can reduce the need for that next cup of coffee because studies show that even as little as 20 minutes outdoors can “jolt” your brain the same way the java does.
Scientists placed cyclists in front of differently colored videos in order to study their overall brain activity and mood. Those who were placed in front of a nature-colored screen experienced a mood boost and didn’t feel as exhausted as those who were placed in front of grey or red-colored videos. This might be mostly psychological, but at the end of the day what does it matter? A mood boost is a mood boost.
Spending too much time indoors — and in front of screens — can cause near-sightedness, which makes it tougher to see. Elementary students who spend more time outdoors than the majority of their classmates mostly had better vision, according to another study.
Sunlight might even mitigate the reception of pain (or distract you from it). In part, this might be because sunlight is known to reduce stress levels in the brain. Ask backpackers — who, by the way, studies show experience a boost in creativity when they spend the majority of their time walking in the woods away from electronics.
Many of us suffer from seasonal depression, which leaves us anxious or exhausted to boot. This is probably because we’re not getting enough fresh air. Studies show that we should still make the effort to get outside when it’s freezing, because even a cold environment can have the same neurological or psychological effects as a warm one.