5 reasons why you should read outside

5 reasons why you should read outside

In For the Love of Reading by Pamela Brill

5 reasons why you should read outside

Now that the weather has (finally) improved — the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the temperature is just right — it’s hard to fight the urge to go outside and stay outside. There’s something peaceful about being outside; even better: reading outside. Saarim Aslam, author of Making Sense of Anxiety and Stress, notes, “We currently live in a demanding world which creates a lot of mental exhaustion. Being outside gives our brains the ability to restore and rest, but it can also help reduce physiological arousal once we experience a bit of stress.”

No need to choose between your book and your backyard; you can enjoy the best of both worlds by reading outside. Here’s why it’s beneficial.

1. Natural light is easier on your eyes

Reading in natural light is instant relief for your peepers. According to recent research from the School of Optometry at the State University of New York, visual contrast increases outdoors, with sunlight’s ability to stimulate the brain and improve eyesight. Dr. Abdhish Bhavsar, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, adds,Reading material with good contrast between the background (for example a white page) and the subject matter (for example dark ink letters), is more easily distinguished and with adequate light levels, reading requires less effort and therefore induces less strain.”

2. It’s an instant stress buster

You’ve heard about how taking a walk can help turn off your overactive mind and allow you to decompress. The same can be said for reading al fresco. Aslam adds, "We can see that even a short exposure to nature results in both physiological and psychological benefits when it comes to stress. Studies show that even a short exposure to some form of nature such as trees, a forest area, or an outside space without large buildings can result in decreases in our stress hormone cortisol and an increase in our parasympathetic nervous system (which controls our ability to relax).”

Not only can spending time in nature improve concentration, but it can also boost our moods. Fresh air and a good book will allow you to disengage from the rest of the world and fully immerse yourself in your fictional world. “These outdoor, nature areas produce decreases in negative mood states, but increase our positive mood states, too. It only takes 10-15 minutes to start seeing these benefits,” says Aslam.

3. It heightens your senses

Working your way through a real page-turner? Don’t be surprised if you suddenly jump at the sound of a barking dog just when you discover who killed off the main character. Your eyes and ears may be more attuned to what’s going on around you when your perspective has shifted. And, yes, that iced coffee you’re sipping may taste better, too.

4. It enhances your reading experience

If your novel is set in a tropical paradise and you’re at the beach, you’ll be able to better relate to the storyline. On the flip side, if you are landlocked, a seaside read will instantly transport you to another destination, minus the sand in your shoes.

5. It preps you for a good night’s sleep

Remember that cozy feeling of snuggling in bed as your mom or dad read aloud from Shadow and Bone? You can experience those same peaceful vibes when you tuck into a book outdoors, allowing your body to prepare for rest. Don’t be surprised if you nod off while reading, as the warmth of the sun lulls you off to Dreamland.

For some reading recommendations to read outdoors, check out the Books Best Read Poolside (or in a Hammock) list from our Scribd editors.


About the Author: Pamela Brill

Pamela Brill, an avid reader who cut her proverbial teeth on the books of Nancy Drew, E.W. Hildick and Laura Ingalls Wilder, is a professional editor and writer based in Northport, New York. When she isn’t reporting on design and renovation, the children’s book industry or the latest toy or gift retail trends, she is working her way through the latest thriller. Pam’s writing can be found in print and online, including Publishers Weekly, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Parents.com and Club & Resort Business magazine, among others.