Social distancing has been proposed as one of the main preventative measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Local, state, and federal authorities have banned large gatherings as a result. Officials are urging people to stay indoors, and many people have been doing so. However, the urge to go outside feels unbearable. There is a good reason behind it, and it involves your health.
The Negative Side of Sheltering for Prolonged Periods
Social distancing is necessary to limit the virus’ spread. However, staying indoors for prolonged periods may have adverse effects on your mental and physical health. Staying indoors means staying inactive for prolonged periods. Physical activity is necessary for the body’s overall fitness, and lack thereof can make underlying conditions such as diabetes and heart disease worse. This is a broad topic, and the bottom line is that the human body needs to be physically active for optimal health. Staying cooped up indoors for prolonged periods may also be overwhelming for your mind. Many studies have emerged, showing the adverse effects of isolation on mental health. Humans are social beings, and this is out of necessity in many aspects, including mental health.
Health Benefits (Necessities) of Going Outdoors
Nature is so important that more and more physicians are prescribing time outdoors in serene environments to treat a wide range of conditions. Some of the health benefits of venturing outdoors regularly include:
Keeping the Body Fit
Physical activity is necessary for the body’s overall health. Physical activity gets the heart pumping and the blood going. It also helps to stretch the muscles and keep them fit. Moving around is also good for the joints. Lack of physical exercise leads to a build-up of harmful hormones and toxins that lead to a wide range of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
With everything that is going on, many people feel like the world will end soon. This is very stressful, and it is even more stressful being locked up and incapable of doing anything about it. The worry can build up into stress and cause a range of mental conditions, including anxiety and depression. These are severe mental conditions that have been linked to a variety of other medical conditions, including heart disease. Depression is also one of the leading causes of suicide worldwide. Going outside will help relieve this tension and distract the mind away from the worry. There are more things to see and do, and the warm sun rays and fresh air are refreshing. The vast expanse of the outdoors also helps get rid of built-up worries and emotions. Researchers say that just 20 minutes spent outdoors is enough to lower stress hormone levels considerably.
Getting outdoors will help you and your family to enjoy and appreciate the world around you. This brings gratitude into your life which will lead to you feeling more relaxed and happy. Reconnecting with nature is important for humans as it elevates your overall well-being emotionally and helps people with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. You and your family should plan trips periodically that revolve around being outdoors in order to rejuvenate physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plan some family bonding time such as camping in Michigan or your particular locale.
Providing Hope and Resilience
These are tough times, as mentioned. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed millions of lives worldwide, and many communities have been affected in one way or another. Political tensions are also building up as protests and riots rage outside. In many ways, it feels like something terrible is lurking around the corner, and the numerous conspiracy theories and doomsday talks flying around are not helping. Going outdoors and feeling the sun on your face and the fresh air in your lungs can help clear the feeling of doom and gloom. It will offer some hope and the much-needed resilience to get through the pandemic and all the drama going on.
Play It Safe!
Spending some time outdoors is necessary, but it is not an excuse to let your guard down. Take the following precautions whenever you venture outdoors:
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines by staying at least one meter away from everyone else.
- Avoid touching surfaces and making physical contact.
- Wear your mask at all times, wash your hands as often as you can and use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid crowded indoor spaces – infected droplets tend to float in the air longer in large indoor spaces.
Experts recommend finding sparsely populated places to go. This makes for the perfect excuse to go on outdoor adventures away from the hassle back home.