Did you hear? It’s go-outside-get-off-the-couch-and-get-some-fresh-air-season. No, it’s not an actual thing, but it should be! Being cooped up in a house all winter long breathing stale air can make it feel like summer is never coming. And let’s be honest, we all need some extra vitamin D after this rainy spring. But as it gets nicer out, everyone should make it a point to get outside and smell the roses.
According to Harvard Heath Publishing it’s more than flowers that will benefit you as you step outdoors. They wrote on their website health.harvard.edu that, “You’ll get more exercise. If you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion.” That is, unless you manage to set up a TV outside along with your couch—which we know some college students can achieve. But even if somehow you and your friends are able to watch Netflix or the next sports game outside, you’re still getting a little bit out of being outdoors. Harvard Heath Publishing wrote, “You’ll be happier. Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in.”
And I’m talking about more than walking to your car in the morning to go to work or running into the grocery store. It’s sad to know that, as The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, the average American spends 93 percent of their life inside. To be more specific, that’s 87 percent of their life in their home or other buildings, then another 6 percent of their life in their automobiles. That’s makes only 7 percent of our entire lives outside. This is not good! There are so many good things about nature, and they’re free with no side effects, we should use all the benefits to our advantage.
As college students, free time is always an insane idea, but you don’t have to make getting some fresh air an event in its own, switch it up with something that’s already on your schedule. Getting lunch? Sit outside on a bench. Doing homework? Grab a blanket and lay on the Fiske Quad. Going to the gym? Run outside! Little things like this can make a huge difference and can actually improve your mental state.
If you find yourself overly stressed out, leave your dorm to take a break in the sun—it can do more than you think. According to onegreenplanet.org, nature goes hand in hand with excelling in academics, “The phenomenon is at the forefront of attention restoration therapy (ART), the notion that natural environments demand less from us than busy urban environments, allowing us to concentrate our attention where we please and recover from mental exhaustion.” To all the students out there that cannot seem to find a way to get through that 15 page paper, leaving the library might be your best bet. Many of us have the hardest time concentrating and focusing some of the time because of ADHD, and going outside can be a more natural way of coping with it rather than turning to medication.
Spring is one, if not the most, colorful season there is in New England. Taking the time to go outside and enjoy the breathtaking trees that are finally starting to bloom can be so relaxing—and they make great scenery for pictures! Once you’re outdoors you notice the birds, the flowers, the clouds, the grass, and it puts everything in more of a perspective of “this is my home” kind of feeling. If there was no nature, no Earth, there would be no man-made built home. This is our home, so we need to appreciate it and onegreenplanet.com says just getting out there will help us, “Studies show that time spent in nature makes humans feel more connected to each other and the world at large. Stronger feelings of belonging give both adults and children more reason to protect the world in which they live.”
Kiana Wright can be contacted