If there was ever a year that the world learned to value time outdoors, it was 2020. Aside from what we experienced about the importance of fresh air and the benefits of natural air flow, we all felt the immediate benefits of the sun shining on our faces and the peace and calm that comes with a walk in nature. But that’s just scraping the surface of what our time in nature can do for us. Time outside is the one thing that can strengthen our bodies, our minds, and you guessed it, our microbiomes.
It’s no secret that taking a walk, run, hike or swim is a great form of exercise. But did you know that being out in nature can strengthen your body outside of that? “Grounding” or sometimes called “Earthing” is the idea that when walking barefoot your foot’s direct contact to the earth and its richness helps remove free radicals that accumulate from our indoor lifestyles. Walking barefoot on grass, dirt, or other natural ground can help your body restore it’s natural defenses and may improve your body’s natural healing abilities.
Also, let’s not forget one of the sun’s many glorious gifts, Vitamin D. This winter especially, when we’ll probably be spending a lot more time indoors than usual, keeping your Vitamin D levels up is critical in helping your body fight off disease, depression and reducing inflammation. Vitamin D deficiencies are soaring in the US, with 42% of adults being affected so do your best to get out even for 15 minutes a day to get that winter sun on your face.
About 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that is related to the changes of the seasons, especially due to the lack of sunshine. This year, that number may likely climb, and if you live in a region that gets harsh winters, this winter season may prove especially challenging. But we’ve got good news. SAD lamps are real and they work. And wouldn’t ya know, they can actually help your body produce Vitamin D!
But save the SAD lamps for when you can’t get outside and don’t let the cold weather deter you from getting your fresh air. Brisk, cold temps make you more alert and conversely help you sleep better...all good for keeping an even keel. And taking a walk in the woods will further help you manage your stress, studies have shown that cortisol levels decrease after a walk in the woods.
Not only is getting outside a safe way to spend time with your loved ones, it’s also great for your physical (and mental) health. Did you know that the more you interact with the dirt, air, and healthy bacteria outside, the more diverse your microbiome becomes? It’s true, and it’s actually one of the founding principles of Mother Dirt.
Our favorite healthy bacteria, Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB), used to live on our skin naturally until harsh chemicals in our traditional skin care products, and less time in nature wiped it away. AOB lives in the dirt and everywhere in nature where living things thrive, and they’re a critical part of the nitrogen cycle in the earth’s ecosystem. They also work the same way in your skin’s ecosystem.
These days when we’re all super conscious of sanitizing our hands and our homes, it’s important to give your skin microbiome some time in nature so it can stay strong and healthy. And thankfully, we bottled this healthy, dirty bacteria so you can boost your biome in between your outdoor adventures. ;-)
Stay active, stay peaceful, stay healthy, and remember: we’re all in this together.