Make Time for Two Hours Outside

Were you outdoors for a walk this weekend? The research is piling up showing that spending time outside in natural surroundings is associated with lower levels of stress hormones, less anxiety, less depression and even improved cognitive ability.

A children’s hospital in the US has a question on their discharge questionnaire: Does the child have access to outdoors and green spaces? If not, they are offered to take part in a nature program. Clinical trials show that this program increases the children’s health and decreases the parents’ stress levels.

Spending two hours per week walking in nature gives a significant improvement in health and subjective well-being. If you like numbers, a study shows that the effect increases with more time outside, reaching the maximum at 5 hours outdoors per week. That half an hour on workdays and Saturday, and one two-hour walk on Sunday. For everyone without a significant mobility impairment, that is completely achievable.

Make sure you get your two hours outside every week. That gives you the energy to work on anything else you need to change in your life.

Your Health Needs Daylight

We’re down to a little over 7 hours of sunlight here in Denmark, so it’s dark when you leave for school or work, and dark when you return. Depression and anxiety is worse in the dark part of the year so it is important to get as much daylight as possible.

One positive effect of lockdown and working from home is that you are free to schedule your day. Take a long break at mid-day and go for a walk, a jog, or just sit outside with a warm beverage. You can make up for this time later in the afternoon. Most work doesn’t require daylight, but your health does.

Today is a Good Day for a Break

Nothing is decided yet, and regular and social media will be breathlessly commenting on every comment all day. Commentators will be commenting on other commentators without any content. Today is a good day to limit your phone and computer use. Take a long walk, breathe fresh air, enjoy the autumn colors.

Get Outside

We all need some way of handling the stressful situations that life sometimes throws at us. In New York, some of their bars have apparently started offering axe throwing. Despite our Viking heritage, I haven’t heard of bars here in Denmark with that option on the menu.

But physical effort does have a useful balancing effect. If your work keeps you in front of a computer or a desk all week, the weekend is a time for you to use your body instead of your brain. Don’t just go to the gym and run on a treadmill. Do something outside where you get fresh outside and sunlight. I will take a walk and enjoy the fall colors. What will you do?