We’ve always known it. Study after study has shown that the wisdom of previous generations was right: getting outdoors — into the sun, breathing fresh air — works wonders in every way. It boosts our immune systems, inspires activity and exercise, brings calm, and lowers stress. But sometimes in the busyness of life, a whole day can pass before we realize that maybe the most we’ve been outside was a quick walk from the house to the car. If you’ve found yourself spending more time indoors than you intended, here are three simple things you can do to get outside.

Number One: Take Phone Calls Outside

I started doing this because I’m home all day with my kids; they can be loud, and I couldn’t concentrate when I was talking on the phone. But now, I love taking calls outside. The next time you take a phone call, walk out the back door at home or into the parking lot from your office, find a safe place where you can concentrate, and talk outdoors. It’s much more pleasant, and you might even stop dreading answering the phone. Even in bad weather, you can make taking calls less of a chore when you stand under a porch roof and watch the rain.

Number Two: Take the Long Way

Walk down the road and back when you go to get your mail. At the grocery store, park in the back of the lot. If you’re at a strip mall, park a few stores away and walk.  Anytime you can, walk a few blocks to your destination instead of driving. If you do have to drive a distance, try taking back roads instead of highways and open the windows.  It will slow down your day a little, but it will increase your joy a lot.

Number Three: Make it Social

Recently, a friend asked if she could come over and take a walk with me. I was delighted and also surprised—usually, where I live, if people want to talk, they invite you to meet for coffee. But she had a better idea. She parked at my house and we walked around my neighborhood for an hour. We saved money and calories, and we gained exercise and fresh air. It was a wonderful change.

There are so many fun and quick ways to incorporate being outside into the busiest of lives. Every minute spent in the sunshine is worthwhile, both to your physical health and your happiness. How can you get outside today?

Written by K. Allison Brannon