We work inside, we park inside, we eat inside, we play inside. Our inside time is then filled with computer screens, televisions, phones and fluorescent lights. At least 22 hours out of most adult’s days are spent INSIDE and it’s having a huge effect on our overall health. We are more depressed, more out of shape, more disconnected and not so damn happy anymore. But there is something you can do about it starting with just a little bit of consistency and out of the box thinking. Try these steps regardless of the season and relish in the effects of fresh air and time outside:
1. Set your phone for every two hours and breath fresh air for 5 mins. We often think we require hours on end to get the benefits of healthy habits. Yet just a few minutes on a regular basis is just as good, if not better for the mind and body.
2. Use your lunch hour wisely. Eat your lunch outside. Go for a walk after lunch. Spend 20 mins sitting on a park bench. Simple changes of pattern (i.e. not eating lunch at your office desk) can have long lasting effects and benefits.
3. Take your meetings outside. Sitting in the boardroom isn’t fun, or overly productive and stimulating. Try taking your next staff meeting to the grass, or even better for a walking meeting. Your belly won’t miss the coffee and donuts and your mind will love the clarity for afternoon work projects.
4. Use your phone outside. Texting back and forth with a friend? On a conference call at work? Having your weekly chat with your momma? Consider changing up this often-sedentary habit by taking your phone calls outside and multi-tasking in a genuinely healthy way.
5. Make it routine. How did you get in the habit of brushing your teeth before bed? You did it over and over again at the same time and likely the same way every day until it just became a part of what you just did? Now do this for your time outside. Maybe it’s a first thing in the morning thing, or a coffee thing, or an evening thing…. whatever you do just make it a regular thing!
6. Workout in the outdoors. Walk, run, use the monkey bars at your local park or ride your bike. Incorporating the outdoors into your workouts can mean long lasting effects of increased energy, revitalization and decrease in tension and negative emotions.
7. Consider having dinner outside. Picnics at the park, and back deck dinner parties are some of our favourites. Cook the din, pack it up, grab the plates and get the heck outside. Eating outdoors makes for a more natural, calmer environment for your digestion and your body will love you for it.
8. Plan outdoor adventures. If you spend all week inside at the office only to spend your weekends grocery shopping, house cleaning and watching tv then I am telling you now you are NOT making the most out of life. And one easy way to change this is to add in some adventure. Plan to visit a conservation area for a forest walk, head to a provincial park and roam the beach, visit a new playground with a cup of coffee. It doesn’t matter how big or far your adventure is, just go!
Between our hectic-jam-packed-lengthy-to-do-list lives the majority of us have moved to spending 90% of our time indoors. 50 years ago, this would have been nearly unheard of. 50 years from now I hope that is the case again. What will you do today to ensure your life is filled with more blue bird skies, and crisp air? How will you reap the benefits of less time in and more time out? You will never find time spent outside a waste.