There’s nothing quite like going outside. Whether it’s a hike through the woods or a bike ride on the beach, going out and being active provides a variety of health benefits. And it turns out, those benefits extend far beyond physical health. According to research led by the University of Exeter, people who spend at least two hours in nature over the span of a week are much more likely to report better health and psychological wellbeing than those that did not. Going outside provides ample mental health benefits, from reduced stress levels to improved mood. So grab your shoes and head out into the sunshine!
Reduce stress- Inside can be a particularly stressful place, made even more so by the near-ubiquitous move to remote work. It’s difficult to relax when you’re ten feet away from your workspace. Getting outside can be a great way to remove yourself from the situation. It’s been found that even 20 minutes of outdoor time can significantly reduce your cortisol levels, making you feel calmer. Hiking, playing a sport, or even walking down the block can get your mind away from work and focused on external stimuli.
Boost your mood- Regardless of how much natural light your home may get, it can’t compare to a stroll in the sunshine. So get out there! It’s been found that increasing your exposure to sunshine improves your mood by increasing your brain’s production of serotonin. In fact, scientists have determined a direct correlation between sunlight and serotonin production.
Exercise- While many people have equipment that allows them to exercise indoors, they aren’t a complete substitute for going outside to exercise. Hiking, biking climbing or just getting your body moving through nature creates endorphins that elevate your mood, reduce stress and generally make you feel better. Plus, once you’re done that sense of accomplishment is pretty great too.
Combat Anxiety and Depression– What all this outdoor time builds to, is a way to help cope with anxiety and depression. Being stuck inside can have extremely adverse effects on our mental health. Simply getting outside can help alleviate them. Between the increased serotonin and endorphin production and reduced cortisol levels, spending time outside is a natural way to help regulate your mood, decrease stress, and make you feel better.
At Live Wellness Center, we understand that we are all living through truly unprecedented times. Between stay-at-home orders, changes in daily routines, and general uncertainty, it’s an extremely stressful time. We want to help. We provide counseling and coaching in Columbus to children and adults. We offer telehealth sessions, traditional clinical counseling, and more. Contact us today to learn more.