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Spending Time Outdoors Can Increase Your Next-Day Recovery


Spending Time Outdoors Can Increase Your Next-Day Recovery

We explore how common it is for WHOOP members to track outdoor time, which age groups do it most often, as well as the impact it has on strain and recovery.

Spending time outdoors is one of the many choices and behaviors available to log in the WHOOP Journal in order to get a better understanding of how various things you do can affect your biometric data. Studies suggest being outside with nature is good for your mental health, but what effect does it have on your physiological metrics?  

Tracking Time Outdoors

We took a look at the anonymous data of WHOOP members who track time outdoors on a regular basis (answering either “yes” or “no” to the question “Spend time outdoors?” at least 10 times in the past 90 days). About 13% of our members choose to monitor outdoor time via the journal. Females (16%) are more likely to do it than males (11%), and it is most common among 30-39 year olds (13.3%).

whoop members tracking outdoor time
WHOOP members who track outdoor time do it about 4 days a week on average.

Of members who consistently log outdoor time in the journal, they do it on 59% of days on average, with the 50-59 age group doing it the most (63% of days). An important caveat to keep in mind is that it’s likely a large population of WHOOP members frequently spend time outdoors, but don’t care to track it.  

Impact of Outdoor Time on Strain and Recovery

To no surprise, the metric we found impacted the most by outdoor time is strain–people are more active when they go outside. On average, day strain rises from 8.7 to 10.4 on days with logged outdoor time. Despite the additional strain, there is no significant effect on sleep following reported outdoor time. However, heart rate variability decreases by 1 millisecond on average, while resting heart rate increases by 1 beat per minute (which both make sense when taking on extra strain).

outdoor time increases recovery
Time outdoors increases WHOOP members' strain and next-day recovery.

What is surprising and noteworthy is that even though outdoor time leads to added strain and slightly worse HRV and RHR, next-day recovery actually goes up–from an average of 58% to 59%. This may be a true testament to the mental health benefits of getting outdoors, as well as the connection between your mental health and physical well being.  

See What Else Improves Your Recovery

The WHOOP Journal suggests a large variety of actions, choices, and other variables you can track–from things like feeling stressed or attending a therapy session during the day, to taking magnesium or melatonin at night. Your Monthly Performance Assessments then provide you with detailed analysis of how the behaviors you record affect your daily recovery.