Here at Outer, we understand the struggle of trying to spend time outside every day. We’re all busy people, leading busy lives. Lives that mostly happen indoors: a staggering 90% of them! It’s why we built this company, and the Outer sofa. We needed to create space for ourselves and our families to enjoy the outdoors because, quite simply, it feels good out there.

On top of good feelings, there are a number of scientifically proven health benefits that come with getting outside. Here, we highlight a handful that we found so inspiring, we ended up spending a few extra minutes (baby steps) on our Outer sofas ourselves, sipping iced green tea and soaking up some vitamin D. We hope this inspires you to do the same.


The benefits of spending time outdoors

Motivation

While we often site work as an inhibitor for getting outdoors, spending time outside is actually a path to working more efficiently. Mini brain breaks can have powerful effects on our creativity and productivity. Physical movement, a change in scenery, and looking at nature all give us a renewed sense of concentration and focus. They also reduce fatigue and alleviate boredom, helping us return to projects recharged.

We’re starting to put this into practice at Outer already. We consider our office rooftop the perfect break area, or even an alternative conference room. Ideas flow freer when the sky’s your ceiling. (You might even catch one of us taking a quick power nap on the sofa.)

Enhanced memory

If keeping your list of to-dos straight is a constant issue, the outdoors can help. A University of Michigan study asked people to take a short memory test and then go for a walk outside. Those who walked in nature did almost 20% better on their second test than those who took in city sights.

Which ultimately means, just looking at nature gives your brain a much-needed break from the constant engagement of our tech-driven lifestyles.

Photo by Robert Bye

Higher self-esteem

According to a study performed by Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, experiencing natural environments make us feel part of a wider ecosystem and that, in turn, makes us feel better about how we look.

“Spending time in a natural environment may help us develop a sense of ownership over our physical selves… and a better understanding of what our bodies can do rather than what our bodies look like,” said Viren Swami, a professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin. “This may promote a sense of physical empowerment that is characteristic of body appreciation.”

More exercise (especially for kids)

It’s no mystery that staying indoors lends itself well to a lot of sedentary activity. Kids, with their endless wells of energy, can’t help but run and play when they’re outdoors. In fact, a team of researchers discovered that children were more than doubly active when they were outdoors versus in.

Photo by Shelly Pence

Better sleep and a better wake up call

Being in nature is calming, and thus lowers stress levels and helps us rest easier at night.

Additionally, the body sets its own clock by sunlight. Night owls especially benefit from morning sun—it increases alertness, and helps your body wake up naturally.

We’ve been trying out some of the Headspace guided meditations in the mornings, and applying some of those same habit-forming ideas to get us outside regularly. Like, do it at the same time every day, and start with three minutes and work your way up.  

Luckily, now we all have a comfortable, dry place to sit in the morning sun.

The (outside) world is our oyster

Simply stepping outside is a pretty manageable way to improve our well-being with minimal effort. The more we make it a habit, the more benefits we reap. Sipping our morning brew outside and taking occasional meetings on the Outer rooftop has already worked wonders.  

We want to know what getting outside does for you and your well-being. Post a pic of yourself outside on social with #LiveOuter and tell us.

We’ll be sure to report back our own findings.