Health in the great outdoors

6/19/2017  By ThirtyPercenters

June 19, 2017

June is National Great Outdoors Month. 

Spoiler alert: You're not going to learn anything surprising here. But it could give you some great excuses to get up from your desk and go outside.

When you live in a region like ours that beautifully showcases all four seasons, the official start of summer is always something to celebrate. If you're not fortunate enough to have summers off from school or work, it can be tough to focus on the job when you know there are sunny blue skies just beyond your reach.

Fortunately, science has found an answer for the desk-bound.

Five-minute mood makeovers

A 2010 study found that "green exercise," a term for any activity done outdoors in a natural setting, "leads to positive short and long-term health outcomes." Those outcomes were improvements in self-esteem and mood. And being in or near water had even greater beneficial effect. People with mental illnesses such as depression showed major improvements after engaging in green exercise.

Researchers found that five minutes outside is all it takes to get this mood-boosting effect. That's five minutes, folks. If it's daylight right now, stop reading and go walk around the block. (But please, come back.)

There, don't you feel better?

For those who can't justify taking time to head outdoors during the workday, there's moving meetings, an idea introduced by faculty at Washington University. "What 'Meetings on the Move' really does is get us active like we used to be when we were kids. We can learn then to bring activity back into our daily life, just like we learned to take it out," says Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD.

Benefits of moving meetings include improved productivity, change in perspective, improved team spirit, and decreased stress.

Be smart, but start!

Whether you head outside for business or pleasure this summer, shade is better than direct sun, and sunscreen and hydration are essentials.

There's no time like today to get into "green activity." Spend some time in the great outdoors and get healthy while having fun.

Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Thirty Percenters does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare professional.