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17 Science-Backed Benefits of Working Outdoors

17 Science-Backed Benefits of Working Outdoors

Americans spend a significant portion of their day sitting. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine reports that the average adult between the ages of 20 and 75 spends nine and a half-hours of their day in a sedentary state — and they acquire many of these hours at work.

Medical experts warn us that indoor desk jobs that include sitting all day can increase the risk of developing serious health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Humans are not made to be locked inside a cubicle all day. Instead, we are biologically built to move around and get in touch with the outdoors.

Most construction jobs, as we know, take place outdoors. While it is hard work, studies have shown that working outdoors produces a wide range of benefits when you work among trees, fresh air and sunlight. These benefits include increased creativity, productivity and positivity.

So, if you need some motivation to get out of the office, you’re in the right place. Here are 17 proven benefits of working outdoors.

1. Upgrades Your Memory

Studies suggest that spending time outdoors can improve cognitive function and further improve your memory. A University of Michigan psychology study found that memory performance and attention spans improved by 20% after individuals spent an hour of time outside and interacting with nature.

While it can be difficult to spend time outdoors during the winter months, the same study also concluded that the memory effects of nature are the same whether the individuals spent their time outdoors in sunny or cold weather.

2. Keeps Blood Pressure in Check


The Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly half of American adults (47%) have high blood pressure with 45% of that population struggling to keep it in check.

Since high blood pressure is often attributed to a sedentary lifestyle, studies suggest that an extra 30-minute nature walk can decrease high blood pressure cases by at least 9%. While the study suggests walking, we can assume that any kind of outdoor physical activity, including working, could be beneficial in reducing blood pressure.

3. Improves Teamwork

If you’re a contractor, you know that your work is extremely group-focused and requires exact, clear communication from everyone on the team. Thankfully, feelings of teamwork, trust and community are more present in an outdoor setting. Perhaps the improved teamwork is due to the cognitive and mental health benefits of nature that each team member feels.

4. Enhances Mood

Did you know your happiness and surrounding environments are directly related to one another? A study by the Paris School of Economics suggests that those who spend their time in natural environments, such as woodland, oceanic and mountain land settings, are associated with higher happiness levels than those who spend all their time in an urban setting.

5. Boosts Energy

When you’re lacking motivation or simply need a little time to recharge, consider stepping outside or heading to the nearest park. A National Library of Medicine study shows that increased time spent outdoors could result in more active lifestyles and motivate individuals to move their bodies.

6. Increases Creativity

While the construction industry is always moving forward, it can be hard to come up with innovative ideas if you’re stuck in an office all day. Next time you’re stuck on a problem and can’t seem to find a creative solution, try taking a walk or checking up on your outdoor-based teams.  A University of Utah study suggests that people who spend time outdoors and detach from technology can improve their creativity and problem-solving skills by a full 50%.

7. Reduces Stress


Do you find yourself spending more time outside when on vacation? It’s proven that natural environments, such as parks, forests or near bodies of water, can calm the mind and body. A University of Michigan study suggests that spending only one hour in nature can reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) by 20%. 

But you don’t have to wait for vacation to spend time outdoors. Whether you work in an office or you’re hard at work on a construction site, consider interacting with nature on your breaks by taking a stroll or eating your lunch outdoors.

8. Offers Access to Fresh Air

Getting out of the house and into nature can be a breath of fresh air — literally! The United States Environmental Protection Agency tells us that the air we breathe indoors (inside our homes and offices) has up to five times the amount of common organic pollutants you would find outdoors.

Fresh air is essential for our respiratory health and immune system, so get outdoors as much as you can — whether it’s for work or leisure.

9. Improves Immune System

Speaking of our immune systems, did you know that spending time outdoors is a proven way to boost your immune system? Some of the airborne chemicals that plants produce have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Our bodies respond to these chemicals by increasing our white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off viruses and infections.

In a Japanese study, researchers found that the effects of the white blood cells produced over the course of a three-day nature trip lasted over 30 days. Imagine all the benefits you can feel when you work on an outdoor construction site every day!

10. Aids in Sleep

Do you ever feel like your body’s clock is off? Your circadian rhythm is the natural, internal biological process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to natural light during the day is a proven way to align your circadian rhythm and promote better sleep patterns.

The Centers for Disease Control suggests that getting bright light shortly after waking up and throughout the day can help you feel more alert during the day and fall asleep faster at night.

11. Raises Vitamin D Levels

While spending time outdoors and in sunlight, your body will naturally soak up more vitamin D, an essential nutrient that strengthens the immune system. The nutrient regulates white blood cell growth so your body can fight off infections and viruses before or while you’re sick. Healthy levels of vitamin D are also proven to lower your risk of developing an autoimmune disease, arthritis or dementia.

It’s important to note that while sunshine is beneficial for vitamin D reasons, the UV rays can harmful your skin and eyes. If you’re on the job site all day, cover up with a hat, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and sunscreen.

12. Provides Mental Health Benefits

We know that working outdoors has its health benefits and can temporarily improve our mood, but you might not know that more time outdoors can also have long-term mental health benefits too. Since time in the sun is linked to higher Vitamin D levels, reduced stress and more motivation to move your body, you might notice some upward progress in your mental health.

To get even more specific, the additional time spent in the sun will reduce sunlight deprivation which is a leading cause of seasonal depression.

13. Decreases Need for Sick Days

With an improved immune system and better mental health, you’ll likely take fewer sick days from work. If your sick days eat into your paid time off policy, more time outdoors can allow you to take your PTO the way it’s meant to be — relaxing on vacation!

A study from the National Library of Medicine also indicates that employees who increase their outdoor air supply are less likely to take sick time. These findings suggest that employees can earn a net savings of $400 a year by reducing time away from work due to illness.

14. Encourages Focus

We know that working outdoors improves memory and other cognitive abilities but  can also increase focus. In a study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, researchers found that our overall brain structure and mood improve when outdoors, which can affect our ability to concentrate and other essential cognitive functions.

So, next time you’re having a hard time solving a problem or feeling particularly distracted, try taking your work outside or taking a break to get some fresh air.

15. Relieves Pain


Dealing with chronic pain and inflammation? Good news! Spending time outside and engaging in outdoor activities can potentially help reduce chronic pain for some individuals.

Acute and chronic pain is widespread — about 20% of American adults are live with chronic pain today. However, medical research suggests that spending more time outside — like a walk through the park or spending time in a forested area — can decrease pain-causing inflammation, among other benefits.

We know that construction work is labor-intensive, and while most of the work takes place outdoors, you may feel sore at the end of the day. Consider adding some stretches to your workday before heading home.

16. Promotes Better Health

With all these studies and statistics, we can assume that those who spend working and free time in nature are physically and mentally healthier. So, how does this affect their overall mortality? Well, it may come as no surprise that those who spend time outside reduce their risk of early mortality by 12%.

17. Burns Calories

Our last, but certainly not least, benefit of working outdoors is burning calories for a healthier life. If you work in construction, you already know how labor-heavy the job can be, but have you ever thought about how many calories you burn throughout the day? Working outside encourages movement and exercise, whether or not you realize it!

Work Outdoors With The Right Equipment

Nature has a powerful effect on us, whether we are walking leisurely or doing difficult manual work. Science shows that an outdoor job can provide us with more energy, improve our mood and well-being. Not only is it good for our health, but also ultimately good for business.

Whether you’re searching for a job that requires working outdoors or you’re using your leisure time to tackle outside projects, always do it with the right equipment. From large-scale commercial construction to home renovations, BigRentz has all the equipment you need to get the job done and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

Rent heavy equipment online with BigRentz for all your construction needs.


Additional Sources

American College of Sports Medicine | Mayo Clinic | University of Michigan | CDC | Nature | American Physiological Association | Paris School of Economics | National Library of Medicine | University of Utah | University of Michigan | United States Environmental Protection Agency | PubMed | CDC | National Library of Medicine | Cleveland Clinic | OSHA | National Library of Medicine | Max Planck Institute of Human Development | CDC | National Library of Medicine | Environmental Health Perspectives

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