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Go Outdoors: It May Be The Thing Your Body Needs

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by Angela Gallardo in Articles

Today’s Paleo Pitfall has nothing at all to do with food.  But I consider it one of the most important aspects of a nourishing lifestyle aside from what you’re eating.

Are you spending enough time outdoors?

What you eat is a big deal. We all know this.  But when it comes to health, how much importance do you place on factors other than food?

It’s taken me years to realize that my (modern day) lifestyle has prevented my body from healing and my often restless spirit from feeling at peace.

My work as a freelancer is not so glamorous (albeit delicious) as it may seem.

The time spent on my feet to cook and shoot recipes is a mere fraction of my “working hours.”  Most of my time is spent with seemingly busy-work like editing photos, doing write-ups, and typing up other content related to BRG.  Add in “fun time” spent on my phone, watching some Netflix with the husband, or scrolling social media and at least half of each day is spent at a computer.  (Let’s be honest, it’s probably way more than half on most days!)

How much daily time are you spending in the digi-world?

I’ve found that the time we spend staring at a screen (or in any sedentary capacity) is directly proportional to the amount of time our bodies need to be moving, particularly outside.

—>>>> Why go outside, you may ask?
(hint: it’s not just about the vitamin D)

1.  It Stimulates Brain Activity
Many of our daily activities are fairly mindless or repetitive, especially when it comes to screen-time.  Most cell phone apps allow for scrolling without much conscious thought whatsoever.  How often do you completely lose track of time due to pouring over your Facebook feed?

When we’re exposed to sunlight, certain signals fire in our bodies that promote alertness and improve mental cognition.  These primarily involve the pituitary gland (found at the base of the brain), which is responsible for our circadian rhythm.  Getting ample time outdoors (particularly early in the day & even on cloudy days) will help you to have more even mental awarenessthroughout the day and will actually help you fall asleep more easily at night.

2.  It’s Therapeutic
While you may not be the type to crave time outdoors, that is not to say that your physical makeup won’t benefit from it. Many studies have been done showing that the body’s stress response and capacity for greater work performance is enhanced when exposed to nature.

Whether it be a leisurely walk or a strenuous bike ride, the heightened mental awareness you experience cannot help but impact your physiological state.  You’ll find that nature can be a distraction when your mind is overly busy or a clearing presence when dealing with tough life problems.  Like they say, a breath of fresh air.

3.  It Challenges Us
As someone that stays inside much of the time, I know very well how easy it to make excuses to not get outside.  When I’ve got some free time, it’s so much easier to zone out in front of a screen than to get up and move.  But I’ve seen the negative effects of this (lazy) mindset firsthand.  Increased insomnia, decreased physical stamina, and greater propensity for injury are just a few of the consequences I’ve experienced personally.
The more I’ve pushed myself to get outside, the more growth I experience — both mentally and physically.  It’s still a struggle for me and while I could do without a few of the challenges life throws at me, this is one that I welcome wholeheartedly.

—>>> What do you think?  Have you seen the benefits of spending more time outdoors?

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