Getting outside improves your immune system, I knew it!

I knew it! Being outside improves your immune system function.

Here’s how:

Being outside lowers your stress levels

That’s because stress restricts blood flow to your digestive system; reduces the number of friendly bacteria in your gut; and creates conditions that allow unfriendly microbes to grow.

Being outside improves your mood.

You probably already know that sunshine makes you feel good, but you may not know just how deeply nature works to improve your mood — going outdoors can serve as a superior form of therapy even for those with severe depression.

Being outside encourages you to move which helps your gut.

You already know that exercise aids in weight loss, improves mood, helps you sleep, and reduces your risk of virtually all diseases. But physical activity also encourages the good little guys in your gut to colonize and grow, increasing the populations of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system by up to 40 percent.

Being outside and taking in the dirt improves your gut flora.

When you go outdoors, you expose yourself to millions of microbes, many of which can benefit your body and microbiome. In fact, scientists now know that exposing children to dirt and germs is actually essential for strengthening their immune system.

Being outside helps your heart.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the ways your gut and your heart work together. For example, your gut bacteria can influence your risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes; increase your risk for high blood pressure; affect your cholesterol and blood fat levels; and harden your arteries.

Now that you know all of that, you should also know that you can reduce your risk of all those things just by going outside. Cool, right?

Think about everything you’ve learned so far: Going outside can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; boost your immune system; encourage you to exercise; and increase your microbial diversity. All of those things relate back to your gut, which relates back to your heart. Notice how all the different parts of your body work together to best serve you when you give it the right conditions.

Now, just do it, get out there either on the trails or in your backyard garden.

Just get outside!

Be well!

Sarah