Sitting inside, moment after moment, can take its toll. Just as we were not meant to stay still all day, so too are we not meant to stay caged up inside. We spend long days at the office and then hop into a car and drive home, living most of our lives within the man-made physical forms we have created. If you are like most people your outside/inside (O/I) ratio is heavily tilted to the ''I'' side. It didn't used to be like this and we're not quite sure how we got here. I haven't met anyone who aspires to this lifestyle, yet most live it. On average, Americans spend over 90 percent of their time indoors. For most entrepreneurs, the percentage is even greater.
Disruptive ideas happen when we think outside the box and amazing lives happen when we actually go outside the box. Which would you prefer: artificial light and stale air, or natural light, the smell of nature and fresh air? When was the last time you took a minute and actually looked up at the sky? Not hurried along from the office to your train or your car, but purposefully, consciously took a moment to enjoy the outside? It may feel contrived at first, but it does wonders. The positive effects that being outside has on your body are well-documented.
The sun provides us with much-needed vitamin D, which, in moderation, can help prevent cancer and bone disease and control insulin levels. The sunlight makes our brain produce natural hormones that wake us up and makes us feel more alert. Having even a short period of time outside also helps reset circadian rhythms and promotes weight loss. In the summertime these effects are heightened by a concentrated ratio of negative ions in the air that have been proven to boost our mood.
Think going outside only affects us in the moment? Not so. Research indicates that getting out into nature can help people's long-term recovery from stress and fatigue. Spending time outside can have a profound mental effect. Finding the time could be as simple as eating your lunch outside three days a week, having your meetings outdoors, walking to work, taking a phone call outside or even taking a few minutes to unabashedly relax and enjoy the sunshine. The richness and freshness of sensory input from outside not only perks up your mind, but also gives you a sense of perspective by reminding you that there is a bigger world out there. If you don't have the time for an outdoor adventure, then at least step out for a quick breath of fresh air. In fact, step away from this screen and walk outside. Just for two minutes.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.