Mental health is essential to personal well-being, family and interpersonal relationships, and the ability to contribute to your community and society.
Getting outside has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior. It allows us to disconnect, reduce anxiety, relieve everyday stressors, and improve our overall well-being. Finding time to be active in the outdoors is a great way for you to connect with nature and stay healthy!
Why Exercise Outside?
Exercising in nature has been proven to improve one’s mental health and physical health. Studies have found that mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and stress may all be eased by exploring outside as it increases an individual’s serotonin and dopamine levels.
- Serotonin is responsible for functions such as memory, sleep, behavior, and appetite which are all factors attributed to mental health.
- Dopamine plays important roles in the brain and body and serves as the trigger for movement, motivation, and emotional responses.
Where to Go?
It is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system to absorb an appropriate amount of sunlight — to generate Vitamin D. Sunlight helps keep your serotonin levels up. This helps raise your energy and keeps your mood calm, positive and focused.
There are a multitude of places you can go to get active outside and get the sunlight you need such as the beach, the mountains, a city park, local hiking trails, and even your own backyard.
What to Do?
It is easy to find affordable activities that you can enjoy doing by yourself or with family and friends. For instance, try walking, hiking, riding a bike, or swimming. These low-impact activities help get your heart pumping, improve balance and endurance, as well as boost your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.
Immersing yourself in the outdoors for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day activates different parts of your brain and can drastically improve your mental health. For more information surrounding the benefits of getting outside, click here.