Spending time in nature has many benefits for your well-being. From outdoor fitness activities to get your body moving, to cultivating a healthy garden to add more fruits and veggies to your diet, to keeping the earth clean by limiting waste and reducing pollution, there are countless ways nature impacts our physical health. Additionally, the amount of time you spend in nature has numerous positive effects on your emotional well-being, including improved mood and attention, reduced stress and increased happiness. These tips can help you get outside and reap the well-being benefits of nature.
Take an outdoor brain break. Going outside for fresh air, even in short spurts, can make a big difference in your energy levels and help you re-engage with work or school. Get tips to help you get outside more.
Get out in the sun (while wearing sunscreen). Exposure to natural light can help boost serotonin hormone production and lift your mood, help regulate your circadian rhythm (body clock) for better sleeping and waking, and alter your melatonin, the hormone also associated with sleep.
Plant a garden. Growing your own food has many benefits, both for your family’s well-being and for the well-being of our environment. In addition to providing exercise and fresh air, gardening can produce healthy and nutritious food that you can enjoy for many months to come. Get tips to help you start your garden here.
Join a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA). If you don’t have the time or space to start your own garden, a CSA is a great way to participate in growing and tending to your own crops, while getting to share in the harvest. By joining, you purchase a share of the crops of the farm as well as volunteer to do a share of the work. Check out Localharvest.org to find a CSA in your area.
Improve the health of our planet—it can have a big impact on our individual health and well-being! Pollution and litter affect the environment and, as a result, can affect our physical and mental health. Volunteer for a community clean-up or sign up for a charity walk/run that benefits environmental groups. Learn about other ways to live green for your well-being here.
Take a walk—a tried and true strategy to get outside. Take the dog for a walk around the block instead of always just letting Fido out in the backyard. Stroll to the corner mailbox. Park far away from your destination. Even in small doses, just breathing fresh air, feeling the solid earth beneath your feet, and gazing at the landscape can bring you back to your senses, leaving you feeling refreshed, steady and clear-headed.
Remember, as the days get warmer, it becomes increasingly important to stay hydrated and keep your body cool. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen!