While it is well known that a healthy body and mind most often go together and that exercise can help us on a path to mental wellness, there are added benefits when that exercise takes place in the great outdoors. Stress and anxiety respond well to having a physical outlet and even more so when time is taken to enjoy nature and our surroundings.
Benefits to Choosing Outdoor Workouts
You may remember being told often as a child how important it was to “go out and get some sunshine.” It’s true that the vitamin D we get from the morning sun during a quick walk or jog can have far-reaching effects on our general health.
Getting adequate sunlight, much like exercising itself, helps to build up our immune system and regulate our chemical levels, which has a profound effect on our mood. Even just a quick 15-minute walk outside during your lunch break can give your mood a much-needed boost.
But vitamin D isn’t the only thing that going outside to exercise will provide to you. Many of the benefits found through exercise are amplified by the outdoors. Fresh air helps keep oxygen levels high, blood pressure low and can even improve your heart rate. Working out indoors may have similar benefits at a base level, but if you decide to take your routine outdoors, you can expect an even healthier experience for both mind and body. Much like deep breathing improves focus and helps to keep anxiety at bay, a little fresh air can go a long way to benefit your health.
Outdoor activities are also an easier way to focus on exercise. Often when working out at home it can be tempting to stop and check your phone or take frequent breaks.
Setting aside time that you respect as the time you’re going to work on your health and using that short period outside to workout and bring focus back to how you’re feeling mentally and physically can help greatly with self-esteem, managing stress and focusing on yourself in a healthy, positive way.
Outdoor Workout Possibilities Are Endless
If you’re struggling to find workout routines that fit into your schedule or that are affordable, there are a lot of exciting options. Going out of your way to explore new areas through hiking or jogging can bring great satisfaction, as well as helping you to build confidence as you learn more about your local areas.
Going on daily walks, even just around the block, is also a good way to meet new people. But even on your own your mental health benefits just from forming a healthy routine and getting blood and oxygen flows up while stress levels are worked out of the body.
More adventure can be had for those looking for new mental stimulation by going swimming at the local public pool or beach, cycling in a new neighborhood, or even horseback riding, skiing or canoeing if any nearby facilities allow for these types of activities.
Winter can be a difficult season for people with mental health problems. Depression and anxiety are often much worse during winter months because you are stuck inside in bad weather and not able to do things that would help you to feel better. Now that spring is approaching, you can use the brighter warmer weather to take steps that will help improve your mental health. Here are some ways you can improve your mental health in spring.
Spend More Time Outside
Sunshine (vitamin D) is a good way to help improve your mood and overall mental health. As the year moves into spring weather, the days will be longer and warmer. You can improve your mental health by taking advantage of the better weather. Even spending fifteen minutes outside in the sun every day can help your mental health. Getting time in the sun is the easiest and most effective way to get vitamin D into your body. In addition, spending time outside of the house will help you get out of a mental and emotional rut, which can also improve your overall mood.
Take Stock of Your Internal Environment
Lots of people use spring to clean their homes and get rid of the clutter that has accumulated during the winter. Sometimes a cluttered environment can contribute to a depressed or anxious mental state. By spring cleaning your home and getting rid of clutter, you give yourself a fresh start for the way you think and live in your environment. In addition, the physical act of cleaning your home gets your body moving, your circulation going which is all good to help improve your mental health.
Get Involved in Journaling
An excellent way to improve your mental health in the springtime is to start journaling. Maybe you thought about it in the beginning of the year, but haven’t yet used it as a daily practice. Now is a great time to start!
Journaling can make us more self aware and help us detect unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and behaviors. It allows us to express those thoughts that seem to consume our minds on a regular basis and by writing them we can very often put them in the past.
Get Some Exercise
Spring is a good time to be more active because the weather is improving. Going for a short walk every day or even a few times a week not only gets you out in the sunshine but helps get your endorphins pumping, which can improve your mood. In addition, regular exercise helps improve your physical health, which improves your mental health.
Whether you’ve been struggling through winter with depression or you are just looking for new ways to improve your overall mental health, spring is a good season for feeling better. Taking small steps such as spending time outside, spring cleaning your home, and exercising can have a big impact on your mood. Committing to these actions this spring will help improve your mental health so you can enjoy the beautiful spring weather.