Overall, we are spending more and more time indoors throughout the day. Due to the busyness at work, some days there may be no time to go outside for some fresh air. And on a rainy day, it can be tempting to spend the day indoors on the couch.

However, fresh outdoor air and sunlight are crucial for both our mental and physical health. Here are some benefits to remind you to go outside more often! :-)

1. Reduce stress

Taking a walk outside can do wonders for your brain, even if it's just for a few minutes a day. Research shows that getting some fresh air reduces stress levels and helps clear your mind. Oxygen makes you more energized, sharper, calmer, and ultimately more relaxed. Moreover, this helps your brain function better, improving your thinking, focus, and productivity.

2. Support your body's functions

All cells in the body rely on a continuous supply of fresh oxygen. An increased level of oxygen improves cell function and has a positive effect on hormone production, digestion, tissue renewal, muscle concentration, and blood circulation. Staying indoors all day may mean breathing the same air repeatedly, resulting in less available oxygen, which can have physical effects.

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3. Good for your lungs

When indoors, it's common to engage in shallow breathing – in the upper part of the lungs. When you go outside, the movement of walking stimulates diaphragmatic breathing. This means you breathe deeper, allowing more air to enter deep into your lungs. This not only provides more oxygen to your cells but also helps your lungs eliminate toxins from the air. It helps cleanse your body from the inside!

4. Boost your happiness

Fresh air leads to increased serotonin release, the hormone that determines our mood and can create feelings of happiness and well-being. Sunlight also has an impact on serotonin production: you may have noticed feeling happier when the sun shines? Even a short walk allows you to benefit from this.

5. Vitamin D

In a previous article, we shared that vitamin D absorption is important for strong bones, teeth, and muscles, among other things. With the help of the sun, your body can produce vitamin D, especially during the summer in the Netherlands. While you enjoy the sunshine, your skin works to produce vitamin D. Around noon, the sun is at its strongest, allowing you to spend less time in the sun and still produce enough vitamin D. Make good use of your lunch break! :-)

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6. Strengthen your immune system

Outdoor air, especially in forests, contains various substances released by plants, including phytoncides. These substances have antibacterial properties that plants use to fight diseases. When we breathe in these substances, the number of white blood cells in our bodies increases, strengthening our immune system. Sunlight also helps our immune system by activating T cells, which help our bodies fight infections.

7. Improve your sleep

Sunlight plays a significant role in regulating our circadian rhythm: the internal clock for our day/night cycle that tells our body when to be awake and when to sleep. When you get more natural sunlight during the day, it helps your body produce melatonin, which ensures better sleep at night. It's a good tip for improving your sleep. Taking a walk outside in the sun helps regulate a healthy circadian rhythm. Additionally, exercise also has a positive effect on better sleep.

So, it's essential to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Try your best to go outside, breathe in fresh air, and enjoy the sun when it's shining!