We’re at the perfect time of year when it’s not too hot or too cold. It’s also not too buggy yet, and the absolute perfect weather for picnicking.
We love getting outdoors. We’re big advocates of being outside. Whether it’s for exercise, travel or just to exist, we’re always telling you to “get out there.” Today, we’re looking at the health benefits of eating outdoors.
Picnicking can be a delightful way to relax and unwind from the stressful world. It’s a change of pace and a boost of vitamin D you otherwise wouldn’t get. Vitamin D aids bone health, and the exposure to daylight can help mood.
Picnicking is good for your mental health. You share a meal with friends and family in a new setting. It’s not a rushed meal. Moreover, studies have shown that spending meaningful time connecting to friends and family can help slow cognitive decline. Connecting to loved ones helps healthy, positive aging!
“Picnics are a great way to enjoy food with family and friends, but they can also be a beneficial way to boost your mental health,” said Alison LaSov, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “Incorporating picnics into your weekly or monthly plans can help reduce mental fatigue, [lower] stress levels and elevate your mood.”
There’s also an exercise component. While a picnic doesn’t have to be linked to a hike, if you are bringing food to a park or even out into your yard, you are still getting more steps and movement into your day than with a normal meal. Going to your local park and walking around to find a good spot can boost your metabolism and brain health.
Because picnicking is a fun and relaxing activity, it lowers stress hormones. In turn, that can boost the immune system.
“Eating outside — especially with family or friends — instantly impacts on our cortisol levels, a hormone which is higher in stressful situations. Too much of it puts us at risk of illness,” Dr. Paul Innerd of the Univ. of Sunderland. “High levels of inflammation — which can heighten the risk of cancer and other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, [blood sugar concerns] — could also decrease if alfresco dining is also done on a regular basis. General immunity could also increase.”
Picnics can also foster healthy eating. By packing healthy salads — both savory and fruit — you can enjoy the great outdoors and eat well. When you are away from your kitchen, you are away from the temptation of any snacks you might have there.
Enjoy good food with loved ones in the great outdoors. It boosts mood and your physical and mental health. Do it while the weather is still mild!