Staying inside for long periods can affect your mental and physical health. Light, noise, sound and different circumstances are all things that help us grow. Limit life to the confines of your four walls, and those kinds of healthy stimulation can easily fade away not to mention set the stage for some unhealthy habits.
Here's a look at what can happen when you spend long stretches indoors, plus what you can do to avoid the possible consequences:
1 • You’ll Start to Feel Crabby or Depressed. Being cooped up deprives you of access to the natural world and means you're more likely to experience the same exact things day in and day out. And that can be a recipe for feeling stagnant and ultimately.
Anxiety and depression, both of those things go up when you're stuck inside. Even if you're choosing to be stuck inside.
Even if it's just feeling the sun or wind on your face or hearing the birds sing, time spent outdoors is a serious mood booster. exposure to natural environments enhanced vitality by as much as 40 percent, while spending time indoors had the opposite effect.
And those feelings can quickly start to snowball, especially when you're dealing with added stressors like a pandemic.
2 • You'll Spend More Time on Devices, Which Can Create a Vicious Negativity Cycle. Chances are, endless time in the house means you're spending more hours scrolling through your phone. Of course, texting and seeing what your circle is up to on Instagram can help you feel more connected when you can't physically be with others. But spend too much time thumbing through Twitter or your news feed and it can have the opposite effect.
When you use your phone temporarily to feel better, you eventually start turning to it when you don't have a pain, and that can lead to oversaturation and overstimulation, which contributes to a lot of mental health disorders.
Frequent mobile phone use is tied to an array of mental health issues, including stress and depression. What's more: Spending time on your phone typically takes time away from other activities that can improve mental health like exercising, focusing on work or school or supportive social interactions.
3 •You Probably Won't Sleep as Well. Depression and stress alone can zap your sleep. So if being inside for long stretches affects your mood during the day, you'll likely find yourself tossing and turning at night.
And that's not the only factor. Even if you're feeling ok emotionally, lack of time outdoors can mess with your snooze time. Natural light plays a key role in helping the body maintain its normal sleep wake rhythms, and a lack of exposure can throw those off and make it harder to sleep well.
4 • Your Vitamin D Levels Could Fall. Our bodies make at least some of our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. So depending on your diet, not leaving the house could mean you're missing out on the nutrient. That's especially true for older adults and people with dark skin, who aren't able to produce vitamin D from sunlight as efficiently.
It's not clear at which point lack of sun exposure would start to affect your vitamin D levels, but we do know this: Just spending 10 to 30 minutes in the sun most days of the week is enough to maintain adequate levels.
Over time, logging less outdoor time than that could create a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to a loss of bone density and up the risk for osteoporosis. Low D levels might also be tied to chronic health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
5• Your Weight and Overall Fitness May Slip.
If staying inside means you're moving less throughout the day, it could lead to weight gain.
Staying indoors doesn't doom you to piling on excess pounds, but it certainly makes it a lot easier. After all, you've got all the snacks and comfort foods basically within arms reach and not a whole lot else going on.
We tend to be less active indoors. When we're outside, we're more likely to walk and use our muscles, even if it's just walking to the grocery store.
And that can add up: If you used to burn 300 calories walking to and from work every day and now only have to shuffle over to your desk, that could add up to a pound gained in less than two weeks if you don't alter your diet.
And all that time spent sitting at home doesn't just mean you're expending less energy. Before long, you might find that your fitness level or even your range of motion starts to diminish.
Walking helps us use our muscles and keep them strong. Since we're walking less indoors, we're using our largest muscles our legs a lot less.
6•Your Immune System Might Falter. Stress and loneliness are two feelings that might reach all-time highs when you don't leave the house for long periods. And both can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to germs when you finally do venture out.
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