Monday, July 17, 2017


By Naomi Shaw

Summer Outdoor Activities
To Improve your Mental Health

Photo courtesy of Danny Cardozo / Harper's Bazaar Mexico

There are several months left in summer, so there’s still time to get outside and enjoy nature. Everyone knows that participating in outdoor activities is a great way to burn calories, tone muscles, and get in shape, but there are mental benefits to staying active in the outdoors as well. Try some of these outdoor activities to improve your mental health this summer:


Researchers have found that unplugging your phone and going for a hike can help you boost your brainpower and creative problem-solving skills by about 50%. Research has shown that this activity can also help those who are suffering from depression or experiencing thoughts of hopelessness or sadness. A quick hike can instantly elevate your mood and make you feel more positive overall.


Research has shown that having to look after a garden can give people a sense of responsibility, which in turn leads to improved self-esteem. Not only does it improve self-esteem, but it also relieves stress. Many people find gardening to be therapeutic, so you may feel a sense of calm after spending thirty minutes with your hands in the dirt.

Photo courtesy of Naomi Shaw


If you have a bike, hop on and head to the nearest nature trail. As you begin to pedal down the path, feel the wind rush through your hair and the sun shining on your face. Appreciating moments like this will help you unwind and forget about the stressful events that happened earlier on in the day. The best part about cycling is it’s a low-impact exercise that anyone can do. Cycling doesn’t affect your joints as much as running and other strenuous exercises do, so people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy this activity.


You can run on a treadmill any time, but there are only certain months of the year where it’s nice enough to run outside. Take advantage of the warm summer months and go for a run outdoors to improve your mental health. During a run, your body releases endorphins, a chemical that can create what is known as a “runner’s high.” The euphoria that you experience from this sudden burst of endorphins will immediately improve your mood, reduce stress, and relieve anxiety.

Photo courtesy of Naomi Shaw


There’s a reason why many people choose to lay on a raft and float in the pool when they want to kick back and relax. Why? Water is naturally calming, so swimming can help you slow down your thoughts and reduce your stress levels. To maximize the mental health benefits, go for a long swim and then allow your heart rate to slow down by floating on your back. During this time, completely clear your head and focus on the weightlessness of your body and the gentle rocking motion of the water beneath you.

Photo courtesy of aerie

Remember, it’s just as important to take care of your mental health as it is to take care of your physical health. The next time you feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or sad, try one of these outdoor activities to improve your mood.

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