Eating outdoors brings with it a range of fantastic benefits that are a sure-fire way to improve your quality of life. Whether you are partaking in a warm summer BBQ with friends and family, or enjoying a picnic in the park, eating outside is the perfect way to get out of the house and immerse yourself amongst nature. Even when the weather is getting worse, making outside meals a regular occurrence is a great way to stay connected with loved ones and experience the range of benefits being outside presents.
Several studies have proven there are a range of health benefits associated with being outside that aid in improving a person’s quality of life. People that spent time walking outdoors were found to be much happier and had greater emotional wellbeing than those that walked inside(Nisbet and Zelenski, 2011; Mayer, Frantz, Bruehlman-Senecal, & Dolliver, 2009 ). Spending time in the garden has been proven to lower stress levels, indicating that when at home, people should attempt to spend as much time in the garden as possible (Cole and Hall, 2010).
Being in sunlight heavily impacts the amount of vitamin D our bodies are receiving. Vitamin D has been strongly evidenced to have a protective effect against bone diseases, muscle weakness, various internal cancers, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Moreover, babies being born underweight has been attributed to vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy (Grant and Holick, 2005). This information not only demonstrates the psychological impact being outside has on our mental wellbeing, but also the physical impact sunlight has on our bodies. Therefore, taking the steps to eat outside on a regular basis can be an important step to improving our overall health.
Eating outside can turn any meal into a social event, whether it is a BBQ on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon or an evening meal with the family. Eating socially has been proven to make us feel more connected to each and ourselves by acting as a source of cultural cohesion and identity (Fischler, 1988). Studies have also found that people enjoy eating more when in social situations and that sharing an experience with other people serves to intensify that experience. Therefore, when eating socially, good food tastes even better and bad food tastes even worse (Boothby, Clarke and Bargh, 2014). All these benefits ultimately result in people that partake in social eating to be happier and find life more enjoyable (Hetherington, Anderson, Norton and Newson, 2006)
Although it is easy to retreat back inside when the colder months arrive, it is imperative for our mental and physical wellbeing to go outside as much as possible. Energy efficient infrared heaters are specially designed to heat up bodies with a lower temperature, meaning that energy is not wasted when the air around them is heated up. Therefore, you can enjoy evening meals in the garden all year round, and even treat yourself to a winter BBQ.
Camp fires and outdoor fire pits have been used for cooking for thousands of years. They are still extremly popular with families both for keeping warm in the evenings and for cooking on.
Boothby, E. J., Clark, M. S., & Bargh, J. A. (2014). Shared experiences are amplified. Psychological Science, 25, 2209–2216.
Cole, D. and Hall, T., 2010. Experiencing the Restorative Components of Wilderness Environments: Does Congestion Interfere and Does Length of Exposure Matter?. Environment and Behavior, 42(6), pp.806-823.
Nisbet, E., & Zelenski, J. (2011). Underestimating Nearby Nature. Psychological Science, 22(9)