Stress can impact every facet of your life. Knowing how to manage and cope is important to both your mental and physical health. Research shows that one of the easiest ways to boost your mood is to get outdoors. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, are pleased to share five ways to help you embrace nature and reduce stress.
1. Hiking Habits. Outdoor physical activity is a two-for-one stress-reducing solution. Not only do you get to connect with nature and get away from some common stressors like your cell phone or work troubles, but you also get in a good cardio workout. Take your hiking time to disconnect and revitalize your mind while building leg strength and stamina. Connect with your city’s local parks and recreation social media channels or website to scope out trails or hiking groups. Added bonus – hiking may lower your risk of heart disease.
2. Creative Creations. Art has a way of being therapeutic, whether you have a talent for it or not. Take your imagination outdoors, embrace the fresh air, and relax your mind through an art project. Try painting, sketching, or even jewelry making to unplug and gain some inspiration. Many studies suggest that partaking in creative activities not only reduces stress but is linked to maintaining cognitive skills as you age.
3. Manage Mood. It’s easy to become overstimulated and anxious throughout the week as stress builds up. Heading outdoors to decompress is a good way to reset your mind. Fresh air increases serotonin, the feel-good chemical your body produces, by amplifying oxygen levels in your brain to naturally improve your mood. Try doing yoga or meditation exercises outdoors multiple days a week to improve your overall mental outlook.
4. Dine Alfresco. On average, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors – a significant increase over the last 10 years. Even a limited amount of time outdoors can have a positive impact. Plan a picnic to your nearest grassy knoll or choose the outdoor patio when eating out. Ask some friends to join you to gain the added benefit of socialization, which is linked to overall better mental health.
5. Sample Sports. Attempt a new outdoor activity you’ve always wanted to try like rowing, Pilates in the park, or mountain biking. Look to your friends or local community for inspired team leagues like kickball or Frisbee golf to keep you active. Research proves that exercising outdoors has a positive impact on blood pressure, lung function, sleep, and stress. Plus vitamin D from the sun naturally helps your body regulate insulin and calcium, aiding in the prevention of diabetes and osteoporosis.