How To Improve Mental Health with these Outdoor Activities
If you knew that you could boost the mental health benefits of your workout routine, would you take advantage of it?
The health benefits of physical exercise come as no surprise to many – heightened endorphins, preventing and managing disease, and even the reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety. But what many of us are not aware of is the increased benefits of taking your workout outside!
Recent studies have shown that exercising outdoors provides enhanced physical health benefits compared to exercising indoors. Another study found that exercising outdoors was “associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression.”
Further studies have found the following health benefits of outdoor activities:
· Lower levels of perceived physical exertion
· Reduced stress
· Improved mental fatigue
· Improved adaptability
· Enhanced mood
· Boosted feelings of self-esteem
· Increased social interaction
· Boosted creativity
Exercising outdoors results in increased levels of vitamin D, cardiovascular and hormone function regulation, and increased feelings of enjoyment surrounding exercise.
Easy Outdoor Activity Ideas:
Ditch the treadmill for a walk, run, or hike around your neighborhood or local park!
Taking your cardio outdoors is a great way to reap the benefits of an outdoor workout. Whether you are walking around your neighborhood or checking out a new hiking spot in your area, getting your heart rate up outside is an easy way to feel great. If you like the idea of running but aren’t sure where to start, try following these guidelines here.
Not sure where to hike in your area? Utilize a site like Alltrails to find the hiking spots in your area, broken down by experience levels. Remember, always let someone know where you are going, and stay prepared!
Try an outdoor, bodyweight circuit workout!
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can try one of the ones linked here. If you’ve done bodyweight circuit workouts before, challenge yourself by doing one extra rep in each circuit. These types of workouts can be done in your backyard, at a local park, or even on a balcony!
Take your yoga mat to the grass!
The emotional, mental, and physical health benefits of yoga are undeniable. Why not get the added boost of taking your practice outside?
If you live in a city and don’t have as much access to open outdoor spaces, here are a few tips:
Check out Recreational Areas Near You
Most cities have parks, basketball and tennis courts, and even running clubs. Take advantage of these opportunities to get outside and connect with your community. Utilize this site to find recreational areas in your city!
Switch Up Your Commute
If possible, try biking or walking to work 2 to 3 days a week. This is a great chance to make the most of your time.
Try picking out an area in your city that you’ve been meaning to check out, then allow yourself to play tourist as you walk or run through the neighborhood. Use this time to sightsee and feel connected to the city that you live in.
Finally, it is important to remember –there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. Make sure to always check the weather forecast before an outdoor workout and prepare accordingly!
Outdoor Exercise | 6 Benefits of Exercising Outdoors (acefitness.org)
The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all - PMC(nih.gov)
Outdoor Workouts for City Dwellers (healthline.com)
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