How Being Outside Makes You Happy

If we take note of many European cultures, we can learn so much from their healthy eating habits and leisurely lifestyles. Europeans eat well, take time off from their jobs, and spend a significant amount of time with family and friends, often at outdoor cafés. Europeans also do a lot more walking than Americans. Perhaps spending so much time outside is what makes people in other countries healthier and happier to be alive.

Video Overview

Stuck Indoors

According to recent research, Americans spend too much time indoors and less time getting fresh air. Adults are stuck in stale offices, and children across the country are spending an average of two hours less each week on sports and outdoor activities than they did just 20 years ago. This lack of time spent outside is actually working against our attempts at being healthier.

The Health Benefits of Fresh Air

Research also shows that children who spend more time in green spaces actually have lower stress levels, do better academically, and even have fewer symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Additionally, sunlight helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which seems to be a deterrent to some cancers.

People who spend more time outside tend to exercise more than those who stay inside all day, and this gives children and adults the added health benefits of being physically fit. Emotionally, we tend to feel better when we are outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, too.

Increase Your Time Outside

Whether it is taking a walk in a park, going for a bike ride, playing catch with your kids, or gardening, there are many opportunities for increasing your time outside. You can get the whole family involved in planting a garden of healthy vegetables and fruits like tomatoes and strawberries that are easy to grow in your yard. And, as an added benefit, you and your family will be eating healthier.

Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Space

Planning your outdoor living space, such as a backyard, can be just as much fun as spending time in it. Consider where you might plant your garden, where you would like to put a grill and table and chairs, or even a comfortable space to sit and enjoy a fire pit on chilly evenings. Don’t forget to give attention to your lawn and the green space in your yard as well. Having a well manicured, healthy, weed-free lawn will also encourage everyone in your family to get out there and enjoy it on a regular basis.

While we may not be able to take three-week vacations like many Europeans do, we can find respite from our busy American lifestyles simply by spending a bit more time outside each day. Having a space in which to retreat right in our own backyard can help us escape the stresses of everyday life, and will undoubtedly help us feel healthier and happier overall.

Writer Melanie Fleury enjoys spending time hiking and biking outdoors. Her own front yard is an oasis of palm trees and hibiscus, due to her green thumbed husband. She used the website at to learn more about how to have a green lawn, so that she can share the joy that being outdoors brings.

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