The Health Benefits Of Going Outside As Soon As You Wake Up (Yes, Even Before Coffee)

We all know there are plenty of ways to make your morning routine healthier and give you a better start to your day. While there are certainly helpful morning routine habits according to experts, sometimes it feels like how we should and shouldn't spend our mornings is ever-changing. From skipping breakfast to fueling up early; getting a workout in or catching some extra Z's, it can be difficult to know what kind of morning will improve our day. 

When it comes to figuring out the healthiest morning routine for you, trying out different options can help you find the perfect fit. There is one thing, though, that everyone can do to start each day off on the right foot, and it's all about when you get your first breath of fresh air. Getting out of the house early can be a real struggle, especially on days when we can't seem to stop snoozing the alarm clock. As more of us work from home or have busy mornings getting ready for our 9-5, getting outside as soon as we wake up isn't on the schedule for most of us. In fact, people spend 90% of their time inside. That doesn't leave very much time for going out and reaping all the health benefits that simply being outdoors can offer. Specifically, getting yourself outside within the first hour of waking up can totally change your life.  The health benefits range from feeling better both mentally and physically to actually living longer. 

Why getting outside early will change your life

It may seem like when you choose to go outside wouldn't actually make a difference, but when it comes to enjoying the health benefits of the great outdoors, timing really is everything. On his podcast, Huberman Lab, Dr. Andrew Huberman explained just how important outside air is as soon as we wake up. According to him, what we do during the day affects how we'll sleep that night. Since getting a good night's sleep will change our day, the cycle continues. "There's a healthy rising tide of cortisol that happens early in the day ... it makes you feel alert. It makes you feel able to move and want to move throughout your day," Dr. Huberman told his podcast listeners. "But it also sets off a timer in your nervous system that dictates when a different hormone, called melatonin, which makes you sleepy, will be secreted." Getting yourself outside will get your hormones off on the right foot, and this can have some pretty serious benefits. 

In addition to aiding melatonin production, sunlight helps our bodies produce serotonin, which is the hormone that makes us happy. Many medications designed to help with depression and anxiety assist your body with serotonin production, so simply getting out in the sunlight early can also help with these symptoms. We all know that we also get Vitamin D from the sun, and this can help our brains work better as well as keep our bones strong. 

How to make going outside part of your morning routine

Getting yourself into the outside world early will help you have more productive days, higher-quality sleep at night, and a happier, longer life. Still, this doesn't make actually getting outside early easier. Luckily, you don't actually have to be a 7 a.m. jogger to get healthy. Revamping your morning can be as easy as changing where you sip your coffee.

Experts suggest exposing yourself to the sun for 30 minutes in the morning. Try reading a book in the park, eating breakfast on the porch, or even enjoying your morning coffee in the sun. Meditating or listening to your favorite podcast outdoors are also great options. Adding exercise to your a.m. outdoor time might make this change feel more intimidating, but if you can incorporate movement into your morning routine, the benefits will be even greater, and you'll feel accomplished before you've even really started your day. There are plenty of ways to involve movement in your morning. A morning walk or run is, of course, a great way to get moving, but there are alternative options you may not have considered. Doing a little yoga in the morning sun or taking your laptop outside and following a HIIT video can be life-changing. If you have a dog, you'll both benefit from an early morning walk. How you choose to start your day outside is up to you; no matter what, this simple change can boost your entire day.