Summer is a great time to improve your overall well-being by getting outside! Being outdoors for as little as 25 minutes a day can help decrease stress. As one of Come Alive Outside’s Mile-A-Day participants said, “Getting out and moving every day for the past month has been the best part of my day as it helps me unwind after a stressful day.”

Here are four other reasons to get outside this summer:

Sunlight makes you happy — Being out in the sunshine increases production of serotonin, one of the feel-good chemicals in your brain. It also increases vitamin D, which can help tame depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Spending time among trees and plants boosts immunity. Plants naturally make a compound called phytoncides, which are released in the air. Some research suggests that, when people inhale these aromatic compounds in nature, it increases their number of immune cells called Natural Killer cells, which is linked with a lower risk of cancer.

Getting outside increases creativity — Do you have writer’s block? Are you struggling to solve a problem? Get outside! A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that walking in a city park or any green space for as little as 25 minutes is enough to give your brain a rest and boost cognitive functioning.

It’s good for eyesight, too. Kids who spend more time outdoors are less nearsighted than their indoor-loving peers. Studies have shown that children who spend one extra hour outdoors each week reduce their risk of developing myopia by over 14%.

When outdoors, be sure to remember to wear sunscreen, keep some water on hand, and do a thorough tick check on yourself when you come back indoors!

Come Alive Outside is a nonprofit based in Rutland whose aim is for people to live healthier lives outside. Come Alive Outside currently has two free programs open to Vermonters: our Mile-A-Day program and our Kid’s Passport program.

For more information on our fun and free summer programs, visit www.comealiveoutside.com or email admin@comealiveoutside.com.

Haley Rice is Come Alive Outside program coordinator.

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