During a time like this, it’s hard not to go a little stir crazy inside the house. It’s important now more than ever to try our best to take care of ourselves. Getting outside, for example, is incredibly beneficial for both our physical and mental health. There are ways to practice social distancing that allow us to get fresh air while still saying 6 feet apart.
Benefits of Getting Outside
Get a Dose of Vitamin D
With the weather (hopefully) starting to get nicer as we head into spring, take advantage of the sunshine! The sun is the best natural source of vitamin D. When sunlight hits skin, a natural process begins where the vitamin is created. According to Medical News Today, vitamin D assists in supporting our immune, brain and nervous system, and even helps our lungs and cardiovascular health.
Taking a simple walk outside can be the perfect way to distract you from any worries and make you feel good surrounded by nature. A study published in Nature Scientific Reports showed that “people who spend two hours or more outdoors are 20 percent more likely to report being satisfied with their lives.” Just spending 120 minutes a week in nature contributes significantly to good health and wellbeing.
We all could benefit from stress reduction at the moment! Business Insider reported on research in which participants who spent time in a forest showed a decrease in heart rates and levels of cortisol compared to those in a city. While we all might not be able to take a hike, simply being in and around the peace of nature can help to calm us down.
How to Get Fresh Air?
Talk a Walk Around the Block
For those of us who are still allowed to leave the house for the most part, why not take a walk? If you’re staying with family, this is an easy way to talk with a sibling or parent while getting some fresh air. You could even offer to walk the dog! After you have been sitting on the couch all day switching between Zoom classes and playing The Sims, taking a brief walk will be a refreshing activity to help boost your mood.
No classes? No problem! There are hundreds of YouTube videos online that offer amazing workout videos to perform right at home, including ones that don’t require any weights. If you miss taking Penn State’s amazing fitness classes, you’re in luck! DM your email to @pennstatefitwell on Instagram and you will be added to a link full of workout videos taught by your favorite instructors, ranging from yoga, to abs, to power remix! Getting outside while breaking a sweat is the perfect combo.
Get Your Work Done
It might not be the same as the HUB or Old Main Lawn, but sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to finish up homework. If you are living in a warmer climate, reward yourself after working and soak up some sun! Lay out a towel or blanket, play some music and allow yourself to relax.
Open a Window
If you are not allowed to go outside due to the pandemic, or maybe the weather is just not the best, you can still feel some fresh air by cracking open a window and feeling the breeze! Set up your area to work near there to have a nice view; you can even add some plants to your desk as another way to bring nature to you.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside during this time? Let us know @VALLEYMag!