Why Go Outside? Ideas for Spending More Time Outdoors

Spending time outside isn’t just good for your mind — it’s good for your body as well. Not only do people report feeling less stressed when they get regular outdoor time, they also describe being more motivated to exercise.

Finding ways to spend more time outdoors is easier than you may think. Below are a few ideas for incorporating more sunlight and fresh air into your day through activities like running, practicing yoga in the park, or studying poolside.

Benefits of spending time outdoors

Studies show that there are many benefits are associated with spending time outdoors. Here are just a few:

  • Better sleep. Most people’s body clocks are aligned with the sun: We’re alert when the sun is up, and we start to get sleepy when the sun goes down. According to Healthline, exposure to sunlight can reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep and improve your quality of rest.
A student reads from a notebook while lying on an outdoor lawn.
  • Reduced anxiety and stress. Medical experts report that spending time outdoors can lower your blood pressure and reduce levels of stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. For example, spending time in the forest, at the beach, or in a neighborhood park can have a calming effect, according to Erica Price, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.
  • Improved health and immunity. Many microorganisms found outdoors are less prevalent inside. Exposure to non-dangerous bacteria and other organisms can help prepare your immune system to ward off infections.
  • Improved sense of well-being. As little as five minutes outdoors each day can improve your self-esteem, according to a 2021 WebMD report. This benefit is enhanced if you spend time in green spaces or near the water.
  • Increased vitamin D helps combat seasonal depression. Sunlight exposure helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which boosts our immune system and bone health, among other benefits. According to Healthline, exposure to sunlight may reduce symptoms of seasonal depression.
  • Improved concentration and energy. People who struggle to maintain focus often find their ability to concentrate improves after spending time outdoors. This may be linked to the fact that being outside helps us take a break from things that are mentally draining, Sharp Health reports.
  • Quality alone time. We are social creatures by nature. However, alone time plays a vital role in our mental health. Taking five minutes to walk around the park, play outdoors with our pet, or jog through the neighborhood can give us a chance to tap into our thoughts and feelings.

Ideas for spending more time outdoors

You can incorporate more outdoor time into your schedule in a variety of ways. Whether you’re interested in attending outdoor cultural events such as concerts and art walks or you’d like to spend more time getting quality exercise, here are a few ways to add fresh air and green space to your day.

Exercise outside

Exercising outdoors is not only free, it’s also available at any time, day or night. Ideas for outdoor exercise include:

  • Running
  • Rowing
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Playing with your children
  • Walking your dog

Decompress outside

If you’re interested in incorporating a bit more calm into your life, you can choose from a number of outdoor activities. Examples include the following:

  • Doing yoga
  • Meditating
  • Gardening
  • Camping or glamping
  • Stargazing

Dine outside

Meals don’t have to be indoor events. Eating alfresco allows you to spend time in nature, get fresh air, and socialize with those around you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Schedule a picnic for yourself or with family and friends.
  • Host a backyard barbecue.
  • Dine at a restaurant with outdoor seating.
  • Make s’mores over a campfire.

How learning online can help you spend more time outdoors

Even studying doesn’t have to be an indoor activity, especially if you’re enrolled in online classes. One of the greatest benefits of online learning is that you can work and learn from anywhere that has an internet connection or mobile hotspot. Ideas for outdoor studying venues include:

  • A beach chair at your favorite seaside destination
  • A picnic table at a park, by a river, or next to a lake
  • An outside table at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant
  • Your backyard
  • Your balcony or porch

Take classes online and learn outside

Aspiring students interested in taking college courses and studying in outdoor environments will find that an online degree program’s flexibility aligns with their academic and personal goals. Online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs are designed for adult learners of all ages, whether they’re restarting a degree they’ve put on hold or changing directions entirely. Today, more than 96% of Maryville University’s online bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates report positive career outcomes within six months of graduation.

Are you ready to get outside by taking a technology-forward, future-focused approach to your education? When you get your online degree or certificate with Maryville University, you’ll have access to your classes, assignments, lectures, and learning modules wherever you go.

Recommended Reading

Year in Review: The Power of Self-Reflection

At-Home Workout Ideas for Students

8 Study Break Ideas That Can Help Boost Your Learning


Bucket List Journey, “Outdoor Activities Bucket List:  75+ Fun Things to Do Outside”

Einstein Healthcare Network, “Why You Should Spend More Time Outdoors”

Healthline, “8 Health Benefits of Getting Back to Nature and Spending Time Outside”

Prevention, “10 Health Benefits of Being Outdoors”

Sharp HealthCare, “5 Ways Being Outdoors Can Make You Healthier and Happier”

The Student Pocket Guide, “The Benefits of Studying Outside”

Verywell Mind, “How Important Is Alone Time for Mental Health?”

WebMD, “Health Benefits of Getting Outside”

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