Reading (No, Everything) Is Better Outside

I spent my afternoon reading on a beautiful hillside. In January. Four days after a snowfall, Atlanta has 60-ish degree weather.

My outdoor reading expedition reminded me of the stark difference between today’s experience and a day spent reading inside on my couch. I almost always feel better when I’m reading outside. 

Maybe it’s the feeling that I’m getting multiple things done at the same time (I am). My body feels healthier and more fully engaged.

It’s getting acclimated to nature instead of an air conditioned environment. It’s getting more vitamin D. It might even be getting a nice tan. I’m getting fresh air, too.

Getting outside also makes you a bit of a better person/reader. You can’t be a total slob when you’re out in public reading, so there’s probably going to be less indulgent eating or dozing involved in an afternoon reading session. You’re also more likely to get some reading done and not laze around because you’ve had to leave your comfy home and go somewhere to read. For the same reason that people feel more productive in coffee shops than at home, you might also find yourself being more businesslike with your reading if you do it outside somewhere.

Spring came early to Atlanta. But as long as you live in a climate warm enough for most of the year, you have no excuse. And if you live in colder climates, that’s all the more reason to get out and enjoy the sun while you can.

Don’t just stop at reading. There are all kinds of activities – sedentary or not – that you can do outside. You can nap outside. You can lift weights outside. You can eat out on your porch instead of inside. You can even hang your clothes to dry outside.

There’s a power to the time we spend outside of our hermetically sealed little housing units. Our bodies seem to like being out in the elements. Give it a try sometime.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at