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How Getting Outdoors Can Improve Mental Health

The number one thing people said last year when the world shut down due to COVID-19 was, “Thank goodness this happened in the spring when we can get outside.” They took to parks and trails to walk, run, bike and skate. Both bicycle and camper sales skyrocketed—so much, in fact, that many stores ran out of inventory. People inherently knew that during a time of great stress and uncertainty, the best thing they could do for their mental health was to explore the great outdoors.

Even before the pandemic, research had shown that being stuck inside for long periods of time results in an abundance of health issues including depressive moods, irritability and an overall sense of malaise. Exposing yourself to nature, on the other hand, evokes feelings of tranquility and relaxation and can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve mental function.

If you’re not convinced, do a little experiment by going outside and enjoying the elements. Dig in the garden or hop on your bike. Take in the sights, sounds and smells around you. When you come back inside, jot down your thoughts. Maybe you felt a sense of joy, peace or gratitude you didn’t feel before venturing out. At the very least, you’ll likely feel a greater sense of calm and satisfaction.

So walk barefoot through the grass. Dance in the rain. Run in the sun. And while you’re at it, embrace the new day in front of you.

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