Well it is not an accident because outdoor activities and time spent in nature have been shown to promote positive benefits for your mental health. In fact, research shows a link between exposure to nature and stress reduction, improved sleep, and creativity!
Research shows that stress levels in the body can be reduced with just a few minutes of exposure to nature as measured by lower blood pressure, muscle tension, and brain activity; while time spent in green spaces significantly lowers cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Exposure to nature can also boost the production of hormones called endorphin and dopamine which are known to promote happiness and feelings of wellbeing.
The vitamin D that your body makes from exposure to sunlight can help regulate your sleep cycle. Limiting your exposure to artificial light before sleeping and waking up with natural sunlight can also reset your circadian rhythm also known as your "sleep-wake cycle". A balanced circadian rhythm will result in better-quality sleeps and help you feel more alert and rested the following day.
Need some creative inspiration?
Spending time outdoors can improve creative thinking and being closer to green natural spaces can restore and rebalance how well you can concentrate and stay focused.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Getting outdoors does not have to be a lot of work and there are lots of simple ways you can get quality time with nature!
Start by taking a walk in your local park!
Nature walks help combat stress while improving mental well-being. Trying to walk for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week is a great way to improve and maintain your overall health.
Try exercising outdoors!
Studies have shown that regular outdoor physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health challenges by 50%. Enjoying activities like walking, cycling, jogging, stretching or doing yoga in a green environment can make you happier than doing the same activities indoors or in the city.
Engage your senses with nature!
Breathe deep - pause and listen when spending time in nature. The fresh scents and smells of nature have been shown to reduce anxiety, while listening to natural sounds like bird songs and rushing water can help lower stress levels in the body.
Whether it is taking a walk through your local park, doing outdoor yoga, or just having a picnic outdoors, contact with nature can rejuvenate both body and mind.
If you find it difficult to get to get started, you can find a buddy to encourage you, make a plan and set goals to stay motivated or just try something new to keep it interesting.
IMPORTANT: If you have any prior injuries or health conditions, or if you are not sure if you can exercise safely, speak to your doctor before starting an exercise plan or a new activity.