Have you ever been awestruck by nature? Whether it’s hiking through stunning fall foliage, taking in a gorgeous sunset, or witnessing the majesty of snow-capped mountains, being outdoors and aware of the world's beauty can make us feel energized and alive. So why does hanging out in nature make everyone feel so happy?
It turns out, being outdoors can actually offer relief for everything from depression to negativity. According to a study from the University of Michigan, nature walks are linked to enhanced mental health and positivity, as well as significantly lower levels of depression and feelings of stress. A study from Glasgow University showed that people who walked, biked, or ran in nature had a lower risk of poor mental health than people who exercised indoors and according to a study recently published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives the brain a break from everyday overstimulation, which can have a healing effect on attention levels. There’s even research indicating that walking among trees improves the functioning of the immune system. In short, being outside is beneficial to our moods and to our overall health.
Here are five easy ways to enjoy the benefits of nature:
- Make it part of your daily ritual. Go for a morning or evening walk every day. And if you have a dog, bring him with you. Outdoor exercise is good for pets, too.
- Find a trail. Whether hiking or biking is more your speed, there are interesting nature trails for you to explore all around the country.
- Sit outside. Most of us are always rushing through our daily schedules. It seems we’re always on the go. The next time you need a break, try sitting outside quietly and simply appreciating the natural beauty around you. Notice the all of the sights, scents, sounds as you relax and focus on the moment.
- Go to a local park. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors which park in your area is their favorite. Then, skip the gym and hit the park for an invigorating outdoor workout instead. Or, pack up a picnic lunch for your family and encourage everyone to take in the beauty of the natural environment.
- Commit to the outdoors all year long. When you're dressed properly, you can enjoy the outdoors in any season, whether it’s cold, wet, or hot. There are plenty of fun and healthy activities you can enjoy throughout the year. Why not try something new each season?
We knew it all along….nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to our mental and physical well-being. Make it a point to get outside today!
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