The endless benefits of outdoor living

By Ron Lazzer

Spring is here. Even though we had a mild winter most of us have spent the majority of our time indoors.

When was the last time you intentionally went outside? Taking out the trash and picking up the children from school don’t count. When was the last time you went outside for the pure joy of being outdoors? Most people can’t remember, but the reasons for doing so are stacking up to the point that we can’t ignore them.

Being in nature provides so many benefits that people have written entire books on the subject and scientific research is beginning to confirm what many of us intuitively understand - spending time outdoors is good for you. Here are some of the benefits:

Mental benefits. Modern life is stressful. Whether it comes from work, school, or family life this stress can build up and wreak havoc on our mental state. Many studies show that exposure to nature can improve focus, mood and emotional stability while reducing anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and even ADHD. Watching birds, trees, water, and wildlife reduces stress by giving your mind a break from the constant demands of life and thus improves mental and emotional health.

Physical benefits. Spending time in the great outdoors has been shown to increase the number of natural killer cells in your body. These cells are responsible for removing viruses, bacteria, and even cancer from your system. Being outside can shorten recovery time after surgery or illness and studies show that people who live near or spend time in green spaces live longer, healthier lives.

Social life. When people are outdoors they are more likely to talk to and get to know others and are more open to meeting new people. A walk in the park will stimulate you by exposing you to new environments and people and stimulate the development of new social skills not used in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So now that we know about the benefits of being outside, what are some of the things we can do? Walk, run, or cycle along the Humber River trail where you will see many interesting sights like deer, hawks, beavers, and native trees and flowers. You don’t need to do this alone - take your whole family with you. Children love discovering the many different forms of wildlife and plants in their natural environment while running and playing freely.

Interested in doing something a little closer to home? Try gardening and create a nature reserve in your own backyard. Gardening provides the same benefits mentioned above and is an excellent form of exercise too. You can plant trees on your own or with a little help. Subsidized programs are available that will provide a tree expert to advise you where and what type of tree to plant at a minimal cost. You can also plant flowers to beautify your home and get the neighbours talking in a good way. There are so many possibilities. So get out there and enjoy outdoor life in our beautiful community, but most importantly have fun!

Ron Lazzer is the owner of Bellevue Landscaping. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please email them to: