Go Outside Digital Detox

In today’s world, most of us are guilty of spending a bit too much time staring at our phones. Whether it’s a random Facebook notification, an email off work, or yet another message on that WhatsApp group chat, it’s easy to get caught in an endless loop of scrolling and refreshing. This is a habit many of us have fallen into – it’s emerged that the average British person now spends 6 hours a day looking at screens, and we interact with and touch our phones over 2600 times in that same period. 

On top of this, we’re also spending a huge amount of time indoors – 92% of each day in fact. This combination of high amounts of screen time and not enough time outdoors could be having a profound effect on our health. From increased risk of weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, to sleepless nights, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression, the modern lifestyle carries with it a lot of potential dangers. 

We’ve put together the following infographic looking at how turning off your devices and spending some much needed time in the great outdoors can help to revitalise your body and mind in today’s hectic world. You don’t need to go far to enjoy these benefits. Even spending some time in your garden relaxing under an awning can boost your mood and help to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Take a look below to see all the crucial facts and figures about why you need to take a digital detox and go outside!

We’re spending more time than ever before indoors, glued to screens. Here’s why you should turn off your devices and spend more time in the great outdoors.

Trapped indoors?

Studies have shown that we are spending an unhealthy amount of time indoors. The average Briton spends 92% of the day indoors. As well as this it was found that only 20% of children are adequately connected to nature and 75% of British children spent less time outdoors than prison inmates.

Hooked on Screens

We are spending more and more of our days looking at screens, on a weekday, the average Briton spends roughly 6 hours looking at screens. It was also found that 50% of teenagers are addicted to their mobile devices, with 66% of people admitting they’d feel afraid of being separated from their phones. On average, we as humans check out phones 85 times per day and touch them up to 2,617 times.

The average time spent per day using screens has increased exponentially over the last few years. The average time spent using screens in 2013 sat at around 300 hours per day, increasing to up to over 500 hours by 2017.

The Health Risks

All the time sitting around indoors staring at devices isn’t good for us – check out just some of the health risks this lifestyle brings with it. 

Computer Vision Syndrome

Sitting indoors staring at screens can cause strained dry eyes, blurred vision & even headaches.

Sleep Disturbances

Spending time indoors using screens subjects us to blue light. This blue light from screens suppresses melatonin production – the sleep hormone.

Increased Risks

Spending large amounts of time using screens indoors can put you at increased risk of weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.

Insomnia

It was found that teenagers who spent over 4 hours looking at screens during the day had a 50% higher chance of developing insomnia and having trouble falling asleep at night.

Let There be Light

Your body needs natural light exposure to function properly and receive the right levels of vitamin D. Your body requires 1000 lux of light to regulate biological rhythms. In comparison, indoor lighting only provides 300-500 lux of light.

75% of people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, this can increase your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Hip Fractures
  •  

How Tech Affects Mental Health

73% of people believe their smartphones contribute to stress within their lives, while 60% say that social media has negatively affected their self esteem. 50% of people say social media has negatively affected their relationships.

Why You Need to Get Outside

All these health risks seem like a great reason to switch off your device, take a digital detox and get outside – whether it’s in your garden, a local park or a natural area like a forest.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy if you do.

Benefits for your Body

Better Sleep

Natural sunlight exposure regulates sleep patterns & circadian rhythm, helping you to get a better night’s rest. People who undertake 2.5 hours of exercise per week enjoy a 65% improvement in sleep quality. Only 30-60 minutes of sunlight exposure can improve sleep patterns.

Fresher Air

Pollutant levels indoors have been found to be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. A simple walk in the forest can boost your immune system for up to 30 day, while blood pressure levels were found to lower after just 15 minutes of walking outside.

Energy Boost

Spending just 20 minutes outside can provide the body with the same energy boost as a cup of coffee. Spending time outdoors is also good for energy and exhaustion, with 90% of people reporting increased energy & less exhaustion when outdoors.

Get Fitter

Not only is spending time outdoors good for your sleeping pattern and mental health but when exercising outdoors you burn up to 5% more calories  – this is because you use a wider range of muscles due to varied terrains, gradients and weather.

People who exercise outdoors clock up 30 minutes more exercise per week than those who exercise indoors.

Give your Eyes a Break

Spending time away from your screens can help to relax your eyes, reducing the chances of:

  • Eye Strain
  • Headaches
  • Long Term Sight Damage

Children need around 10 hours per week of outdoor time to reduce the chance of developing short-sightedness.

Benefits for your Mind

As well as helping you to become more physically fit and healthy, going outside can help to enhance your overall wellbeing and improve your mental health.

Stress Busting

Walking outdoors in a green area can put the brain in a meditative state and reduce stress levels as well as helping to boost serotonin, combat depression and enhance wellbeing. When you go for a woodland walk, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are reduced 16% more than if you walk through an urban area.

Mood Enhancing

Spending just 5 minutes exercising outdoors in a green space is enough to significantly lift mood, even with low impact activities like:

  • Gardening
  • Walking
  • Fishing

Work Better

After spending a few days outdoors without devices, backpackers scored 50% higher on creativity tests than previously. Spending just 1 hour outdoors in nature causes a 20% boost in short-term memory & attention span.

Beat the Blues

Getting more exposure to sunlight can help you to combat conditions like S.A.D and enhance your mental wellbeing. 39% of people say that daylight significantly impacts their mood.

S.A.D – Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depression that comes and goes with the seasons. It’s most common in the winter and tends to begin as the days get shorter and there’s less daylight.

15% of the world’s population experience varying levels of S.A.D