10 Benefits of Spending Time Outside

10 Benefits of Spending Time Outside

This blog was written in partnership with our friends at OutGrown.

Every season has its challenges when it comes to finding the motivation to get outdoors. It could be too hot or too cold; too wet or too dry; too dark, windy, smoggy or muddy. We feel stuck indoors and our physical, mental and emotional well-being can take a hit because of it.

“Spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being.” American Psychological Association.

That’s why it’s so important to try to spend at least 10 meaningful minutes outside each day.

The health benefits of spending time outside

Getting a breath of fresh air can do more than improve our lungs—there are many proven benefits for the whole family to spending time outside.

  • Benefit: Increased serotonin
    Exposing the body to sunshine naturally increases serotonin levels—those "happy" boosters we produce that impact things like our memory, stress, digestion and sleep.
  • Benefit: Increased Vitamin D
    Sun exposure is also a great way to naturally absorb vitamin D. We need vitamin D for healthy bone growth but also to help control cancer cell development, infections and inflammation in our bodies.
  • Benefit: Reduced cortisol levels

    Cortisol is the hormone that helps give us the energy we produce to wake up in the morning and also helps us fall asleep and rest as levels lower in our body. When we have high levels of cortisol we can suffer from things like anxiety, weight gain and heart disease.
  • Benefit: Burned calories

    Exercise outdoors has the added benefits of natural inclines, wind resistance and varying terrain—all of which add to more calories being burnt from something as simple as a stroll around the block.
  • Benefit: Improved memory, focus and attention
    Studies show that nature directly contributes to enhanced brain development in children who spend quality time outdoors. Nature itself helps to decrease the heart rate and blood pressure, regulate body temperature and helps with cognitive skills, memory and attention.
  • Benefit: Decreased risk of heart disease
    The combination of increased vitamin D, reduced cortisol and easing physical tension in our bodies from time spent outdoors contributes to a decreased risk of developing heart disease.
  • Benefit: Improved sleep
    Falling asleep can be difficult when your body isn't in the right rhythm or is too wound up to get restful sleep. Spending time outdoors helps our brains sync with a sleep/wake cycle and fall into a more healthy pattern of day/night energy.
  • Benefit: Eased depression symptoms

    Spending more time outdoors increases the likelihood of feeling connected to nature—and can therefore lead to feeling less isolated and depressed.
  • Benefit: Boosted immune function

    It's not just a breath of fresh air that helps us feel better as we escape from indoor germs and bacteria—sunlight may activate T cells in our immune system to fight infections and some plants release immune-boosting phytoncides into the air.
  • Benefit: Increased happiness and peacefulness
    When we soak up natural sunlight, breathe fresh air and appreciate the beauty of nature on a consistent basis, we increase our ability to feel true happiness and peace. We feel more connected, less confined and at ease from all the benefits of spending meaningful time outdoors regularly.

Make it a habit to get outdoors every day

Try to make it a habit to spend time in nature every day by starting small and finding others to motivate you and your family. Take a little extra time as you do your daily activities outside—like when you are walking into work, school or running errands. Find accountability buddies or communities with like-minded goals and inspire others while you achieve yours!

Soon, it will become "natural" to spend more time in nature and you will reap the benefits of improved mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Want to view more studies and learn more? We think this article is a great resource.

About OutGrown

OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. They are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. They believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteer Branch Ambassadors. More information on all of their programs can be found at