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Benefits of Being Outdoors

The Benefits of Being Outdoors

Ponds are a beautiful decoration to a yard, but their benefits go way beyond the aesthetics.  Ponds motivate you to get outdoors and reconnect with nature.  If you have koi or other fish in your pond, every day you’ll find yourself outside for a minute or two.  This little bit of exposure can help lift your mood for the day.  The fish will learn your schedule and will eventually greet you at feeding time, popping their little heads out of the water and swimming close to the edge to say “hi.”  

Have you ever noticed you feel exceptionally calm while feeding your koi in the morning?  It’s not just a coincidence, it’s science!  Harvard Medical School did a study on the benefits of being outdoors, and the findings were quite compelling.  The average American spends 90 percent of their days indoors, which is an astounding statistic!  Nature is beautiful and a natural stress reliever!  Spending a few minutes outside each day can help ease anxiety, depression, and stress.  

 

Sunshine and Fresh Air

You should always use sunscreen when being outdoors for too long while the sun is out, in the peak hours of the day, but in small doses sunshine can boost Vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D is really important and helps fight a variety of different diseases.  A Vitamin D deficiency can cause many problems including fatigue.

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), and light (preferably sunlight) can be as effective as antidepressants to lift moods.  Daily fish feeding trips to the pond can give your body the essential sunlight and fresh air it needs to be happy.  The freshness of nature has its own scent which helps calm down the body.  The wet, crisp, and woody air of the morning can help set your day off on the right note.

 

Exercise

Indoor exercise can be a necessity during the winter, but once the weather warms up, it’s best to head outdoors.  The color green has been shown to make exercises easier and less arduous.  People that exercise outdoors are more likely to stay with a routine and look forward to their next workout.

Water gardening is great exercise.  You have to bend down, remove debris, trim plants, and work on the landscaping around the pond, it burns a lot of calories!  After a little bit of pond care outside in the fresh air, you may find your mood has completely done a 360 and your feeling more positive!  The outdoors can have a profound effect on our happiness.

 

Live Well

Nature can help increase focus. Technology can divide our focus, as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and texts all compete for our attention.  Being outside in nature can help you “unplug” and refocus, by allowing yourself to only have to pay attention to the task at hand.  Try to leave your phone inside next time you feed your fish, or at least put it on silent.  As your mind wanders, you may even find bursts of creativity!  When you cut away all of the distractions, you are forced into introspection.  While you reconnect with nature, you also reconnect with yourself.

Ponds are a natural stress reliever.  The sound of running water from fountains and waterfalls, and songs of birds are tranquil.  It’s easy to let you mind rest and recoup as you watch koi gracefully swim around the water or listen to birds tweet in a tree.  You may “zone out” as the water flow creates ripples that slowly make their way to the edge.  “Zoning out” is a great way to give your brain the break it needs.  You may find you’re more alert and productive after a few minutes of letting your mind wander.

 

Wildlife

Ponds can become a watering hole for the nearby wildlife in your area.  You might find anything from frogs, squirrels, birds, and even the occasional deer quenching its thirst in your little oasis from time to time.  The University of Exeter did a study and found birdwatching decreases stress, anxiety, and depression.  Bird watching is a great hobby, you can watch the variations of birds change with the seasons.  If you’re lucky you can spot a nest in the springtime and watch the babies hatch and grow, until they one day leave the nest!
Ponds give you a reason to get outside and reconnect with nature.  We are bombarded with technology and stressors and can often forget to take time for ourselves.  We can become overworked and overwhelmed, but just spending a few minutes outdoors unplugged can really make a difference in our mental health states.  It’s easy to forget about nature, as our everyday lives can be quite packed and filled to the brim.  Being outdoors is really important, and even a minute spent in the sunshine is better than spending an entire day indoors.

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