Get Outside: 3 Activities To Relieve Stress

Did you know that nearly 84 million Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors? People are finding themselves disconnecting with the outdoors and, as a result, are becoming more overweight, depressed and stressed than usual! (After the jump: Suggestions on how to destress outdoors - plus proof on why they work.)

Summer is usually the ideal time to break the wheel of monotony and enjoy the many benefits of nature. Research tells that fresh air, trees, and natural elements have a positive effect on our health and overall well-being. Living a healthier life also means that you will start to find ways to relieve stress naturally. 

To get the most stress-relieving benefits in the next few summer months, partake in outdoor activities like yoga, running and meditation! Exposure to the sunlight will improve overall health, while ready access to greenery will help you develop a more overall positive mood.

You can try the following activities when you find yourself feeling stressed and anxious:

Gardening

Gardening is one hobby that allows you to enjoy a calming environment while immersing yourself in nature. Many gardeners call their hobby a perfect antidote to the modern lifestyle, a way of rediscovering some of the intangibles lost over years of hectic routines.

A study conducted in Netherlands suggests that gardening could be better at fighting stress than other leisure and relaxation activities. Two groups of people were asked to read either indoors or engage in gardening for 30 minutes. The group that selected gardening had a better mood at the end of the study, and their stress hormone cortisol was also at a lower level compared to the reading group.

Additionally, gardening could also spark social interaction, which can keep your mind away from the day’s hustle and bustle.

Exercise

Walking outdoors can improve energy levels, attention span and memory by 20 percent. Try walking outdoors for 15-30 minutes three to four days a week to relieve stress and give your body an overall energy boost.

Apart from walking, you can also engage in activities that burn greater calories such as striding on an outdoor elliptical bike. These can burn greater calories and engage more muscle groups, including the heart. Both of the options, however, are great for running local errands and commuting to and from work – without gas!

Also, you can make your daily exercise a group activity for stress-relieving benefits of developing social bonds and spending time with friends. Social support during exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels while simultaneously acts as a source of motivation to engage in the activity for a longer period of time.

Photography

Outdoor photography allows you to focus outside of yourself. You can take beautiful images of your surroundings. It is also helpful in distracting your mind from stress and anxiety you may be feeling. 

Stress deteriorates mind, body and soul. It's imperative we all limit our daily stress and start enjoying the moments. Our health and quality of life are far more important then dwelling on the unknown.

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