5 Reasons to Get Outside This Weekend

How spending time outside can be good for your health, mama.

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado where the mountains were basically my backyard. I could literally walk out the door and hike up a mountain. I didn't think much of it at the time, but now having lived in both major metropoles and smaller cities with more access to nature, I feel so incredibly grateful to have gotten that opportunity.  Today I live in Miami, which is a nice blend of nature and city and arguably a great place to have a baby. I have been able to get outside every day since Grace was born (getting outside to go for a walk once a day is something that I would recommend to all moms). Plus, I get to stare at the ocean all day, which is not terrible. 

Generally, since moving to Miami from New York City I feel lighter, less stressed and more creative (I do miss the hustle and bustle and of course my friends, but that is a story for a different day). Turns out there is some science to back up my experience. 

Here are 5 reasons for mamas to be spending time outside today and every day:

  1. It restores our brains - feeling foggy from lack of sleep and / or constant crying, feeding, cleaning? Spending time outdoors helps to sharpen our mental performance. (source)

  2. It decreases the risk of depression - 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression (source). One study found that 30 minutes of walking in nature each week to lower the risk of developing depression (source). Going for walks are probably not going to serve as a cure all for severe depression, but it could help. 
  3. It's good for your all around health - there is research that shows that being outside in nature can help with sleep, improve mental health, reduce aggression, reduce ADHD, lower blood pressure, reduce diabetes, improve eyesight, improve immune function, and more. (source)
  4. You can get a dose of Vitamin D - Vitamin D is created naturally when your body is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to fight disease, depression and can help boost weight loss. (source)
  5. Being next to water (rivers, lakes, oceans) can help us stay calm - according to Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do , being near water puts us in a "mild meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment." He also sites a study that demonstrated that people are happier exercising near the water than elsewhere.

Some of my favorite places to get outside: