In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir
With today’s hectic life pace and concrete jungle all around us, often we lose touch of what really matters, and that is finding the mind and body balance. One of the best ways to do that, actually, is spending time in nature. Being in nature for just 20 minutes each day is enough to improve your mood and boost your vitality levels, a study concludes. Having those benefits in mind, modern people must find their way to go back to Mother Nature’s embrace and, by doing so, improve their mental health and overall wellbeing.
How Exactly Is Nature Good for You?
It is scientifically proven that extended outdoor activities can lead to long-term improvement of your mental health. Study performed by scholars from the University of Michigan dealt with veterans, which after participating in engaging activities in nature (hiking, paddling, fly-fishing, kayaking, etc.) acknowledged that staying in nature resulted in improved mood, openness and overall feeling of satisfaction. Also, staying in nature can significantly reduce the risks of or alleviate depression. Just simple exposure to sunlight causes the release of the happiness hormone – serotonin. Bonding with nature on an emotional level creates a unique awareness, not only of yourself, but of the planet, too.
Being Active Outside…
We all know that physical activities are good for us, if not essential for normal functioning. Imagine if we combine all the good things that come from them with spending time in nature – those benefits would skyrocketed. There are many energy-boosting activities which can be performed outdoor, while relieving stress and anxiety at the same time. So try to engage in all of them, from fun and relaxing to physically challenging – jogging, hiking, cycling, dancing… Try surfing to combine the benefits of the fresh air, sun and the sea. If you find that too challenging try using stand up paddleboard, and you will get the similar effect.
…VS Being Active Inside
There is nothing wrong about going to the gym when you want to be fit. Still, no matter how helpful the machines are and how useful is to have a trainer beside to help you, benefits of exercising outside outweigh the ones of working out in the gym. Why is that so? Well, when you are working out in a gym, you tend to observe others and compare yourself with them. That can lead to feeling discontent and not enjoying the physical activities at all. Some studies even concluded that a walk in nature when compared with a walk on treadmill (same time or distance) significantly increases pleasure, vitality, and enthusiasm while lowering tension, fatigue and depression after the very activity. It is similar with cycling and other exercises.
Opposite to gym workouts where people plug in their earphones and plug out from the world, in nature, people love to work out together, talk, discuss about important topics, such as healthy diet. Not only can participating in outdoor activities help you spend quality times with your family and friends, but it can also enable you to meet new people and make new friends. So, instead of sitting in some café with your friends, you can chat while taking a stroll in a local park. Or, instead of arranging family barbeque, why would not you organize a family gathering outdoors where you can plan a lot of fun and engaging physical activities?
If the saying Stationary body means stationary thoughts is any true, then you can significantly improve your mental outlook by getting your feet moving. Combine that with spending some quality time in nature with the persons you care about, and you will find your way to a balanced and happy life.