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Why You Should Spend More Time Outside

Why You Should Spend More Time Outside

By Joe Raboine, Vice President of Design, Oldcastle APG
Photographs courtesy of Oldcastle APG

Spring is here, meaning longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures – perfect for spending more time in nature. Since our prolonged period of quarantine, many people are prioritizing getting outdoors, and with good reason. Data shows that even just 10 minutes outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety levels.

If you’ve stepped outside on a warm spring day, you know the almost instant effect it can have on your mood. Like with stress reduction, there is ample data to support the health and wellness benefits of being outside.

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How Being Outdoors Impacts Physical Health

Spending time outside promotes healthier lifestyles. When cities and towns have more green spaces, it encourages more physical activity, increasing fitness levels. With this comes a host of benefits such as increased life expectancy and improved sleep quality.

You can add more green space in your backyard by implementing biophilic design practices. Biophilic design blends the landscape with non-organic materials, like hardscapes, to create a beautifully cohesive space. You can enhance a paver patio with a vertical garden or upgraded landscaping, surrounding yourself with more plant life. For more functionality, plant herbs, fruits and veggies – giving you an excuse to head outside to harvest.

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The Mental Benefits Of Being Outside 

Lowering stress is one of many benefits of being outside for your mental well-being. Studies show spending time in nature reduces cortisol levels, decreasing both stress and anxiety and reducing muscle tension. Sunlight naturally raises your serotonin levels, giving you more energy and making you feel calmer. This also can help increase your focus.

Think about how you can bring more relaxing elements to your backyard. Adding a water feature like a bubbling fountain creates soothing noises as you sit and relax on a deck or patio. A fire pit or fire table adds coziness, as well as additional heat and light on colder, darker evenings. Fire pits also serve as a great gathering spot. Being outdoors is proven to foster more social connection – so what better way to connect than a s’mores night?

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Creating A Better Environment

There’s also evidence that increased outdoor access benefits communities and the environment. More green spaces help reduce pollutants, offer better air quality, and reduce noise and heat levels. Founder of Visionary Design Marketing and the Science in Design Summit, Mike Peterson, often speaks on the importance of incorporating biophilic design principles into indoor and outdoor design to improve both the environment and our well-being. I had the privilege of interviewing Mike to talk about this subject, which you can find here.

If you’re adding or renovating an outdoor space, consider using more sustainable materials as well to help foster environmental protection. Permeable pavers mimic the way land absorbs water, helping reduce the burden on storm drains. You can even design permeable paver systems to harvest and recycle rainwater.


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