9 Benefits To Taking Outdoor Breaks At Work
Summer Has Arrived!
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
Finally the UK has been blessed with a period of good weather and we can officially say Summer has arrived!
To celebrate its arrival, we’ve put together a handy guide on the multiple benefits a simple walk around the block or taking a your lunch break outside can have on your productivity and mental health.
1. Reduced Inflammation & Increased Immunity 🛡️
A 2012 university study in China observed that individuals who lived in the country and spent a lot of their time outdoors had significantly lower inflammatory responses than those that lived in a city spending the majority of their time indoors.
2. Feel Happy 😊
No matter what part of the population is surveyed, when it’s sunny, going outside seems to boost your mood and naturally make you feel happier.
3. Vitamin D boost ☀️
Numerous studies are supporting the disease fighting powers of Vitamin D, a vitamin the body is able to produce naturally via skin exposure to sunlight.
4. Improved Memory 🤓
Research conducted by the University of Michigan found that walking outdoors in the park seemed to improve both memory and attention span, especially short term memory.
A similar study on depressed individuals found that walks in nature boosted working memory much more than walks in urban environments.
5. Increase Energy Levels 🔋
You know that feeling when your brain seems to be spluttering to a halt? Researchers call that "mental fatigue."
Research conducted by the University of Rochester found that 90% of people experience an increase in energy by taking part in outdoor activities.
6. The De-Stressing Effect 😎
Something about being outside changes the physical expression of stress in the body.
One study found that participants sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone used as an indicator for stress levels — than those who spent that time in a city.
In another study , researchers found a decrease in both the heart rates and levels of cortisol of participants who spent time in the forest compared to those in the city.
Some have likened this effect on the body to being similar to the effects of meditating.
7. Strengthened immune system 💪
A study by the Wilderness society shows that those who spend time outdoors and are regularly active have improved immunity.
Although still in their earliest phases of research, some preliminary studies have suggested that spending time in nature — in forests, in particular — may even stimulate the production of anti-cancer proteins .
8. Increase creativity 🎨
A study found that people who immersed themselves in nature for four days boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%.
9. Increase amount of low intensity exercise 🏃♂️
Doing something as simple as taking a walk around the block during the day, perhaps as part of your lunch break, will help get your body moving in a low intensity way, allowing for the further benefits that are associated with performing regular activity and exercise.
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