Why get some extra time outside on the patio? Most people simply enjoy spending more time outside, but they may not realize that the health benefits of getting sunshine may be part of the reason they crave it so much. Spending even ten minutes more outside every day can improve your health in at least six ways.
1. Vitamin D
Unlike many other creatures on the planet, we can make Vitamin D without needing to eat anything. Instead, people need exposure to sunlight for their cells to get UVB radiation, which we then turn into Vitamin D, an essential nutrient needed for your immune system, among other things. Many people end up deficient in Vitamin D because they don’t spend enough time outside, particularly in the winter, in a phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you suspect you suffer from this disorder, it can help to get more time outside.
Stepping foot outside might help you get more exercise. Whether it encourages you to step in the pool or just take a little walk around the garden, any it of exercise you can get is a good thing. You may also find that if you have kids and you spend time outside, they end up coming outside with you and playing in the yard. So, you can help them get exercise by spending more time on your patio.
Your biological clock needs exposure to sunlight to work properly. Researchers have found that cells in your eyes need light, especially light in the morning, in order to help you fall asleep at night. Simply popping outside to have your coffee in the sun may help you get the full night’s rest you need. The older you get, the more important this may be.
Often people conflate the effect of exercise and outdoor time. It’s true that if you exercise outside, then you’ll have improved focus. Recently, researchers have found that even sitting outside and not exercising can help boost your focus as well. The “greenness” of the space matters. Children were better able to concentrate after spending time in the park as opposed to an urban area. Researchers are not sure why, but something about the fresh air in green spaces helps.
5. Immune Function
Sunlight and air helps boost your immune function. Sunlight helps energize T-cells, one of the most important cells that helps regulate your immune response and keep you healthy. Plants also give off substances that help your immune system, and you’re likely to breathe those in when you’re sitting outside. One of those substances in phytocides, which can help your immune system hunt down tumor cells and virus-infected cells.
6. Injury Recovery
Have a stubbed toe, a sore ankle or even a major injury? Sitting outside can help you recover from your injury. Research has found that people who went through spinal surgery will end up taking fewer medications and will experience less pain if they get some natural light, or seen greenery out their window.