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07/31/2023 “Enjoy the Outdoors and It will Help Your Mental Health” By Kaylee McGrath

Opening Statement:

I’m sure you can recall growing up, your parents telling you “Get some fresh air and play outside” when you were experiencing feeling down with not having friends around and nothing to do, or feeling better after being sick? It is a fact that spending time outdoors and connecting with nature is a great way to improve your physical and mental health. It has several excellent benefits to assist you with a better state of mind, health, and wellness. You should try to walk a few times a week in all four seasons, just dress appropriately for current weather conditions.

Listed below are five reasons why going outside can boost your mood and lead you down a better path to mental health:

1. It is a great source of vitamin D. Being out in the sun exposes you to sunlight, which your skin uses to make vitamin D as a nutrient for your body. Vitamin D can help improve your immune system, make your bones stronger and lower your risk of developing diseases and various types of cancer.

2. It can be the calm after the storm. “Moving your body and being outside in nature can help your body recover after stressful events in your life. Being in nature can reduce cortisol levels and muscle tension.

3. It’s a great way to foster connection with other people. Whether you join a running club, play ultimate frisbee or take a walk with your family after work, exploring outdoors can be a great opportunity to bond and experience nature together.

4. You will sleep like a baby. Ever notice after spending a day outside, at the beach or in your backyard, that you sleep more soundly? Our circadian rhythm, also known as our internal clock, regulates how our body functions, and research supports that it is directly affected by how much sunlight you are exposed to. Bright light will help you feel more alert and awake during the day, and fall asleep easier and feel more tired at night.

5. Sunlight can help with feelings of depression. Research suggests that exercise and exposure to sunlight impact your mood. Getting regular exercise and exposure to daylight can help raise your spirits and improve your focus.

Try these Outdoor Health Boosters

Connecting your body with the natural environment can play a significant role in your health.

Listed below are several ways you can gain this connection:

· Gardening: Spending time outdoors and growing your own plants, flowers or produce can help boost feelings of happiness, success, and productivity.

· Forest bathing: This refers to “taking in the medicine or atmosphere of the forest.” You can practice forest bathing by walking, biking, or relaxing in a forest setting, such as an area with many trees.

· Earthing: Earthing, or grounding, refers to the activities in which you immerse yourself in an “earthly” experience. These activities include walking barefoot, laying on the ground or swimming in a natural body of water. Going to your local beach or park can be a great setting to practice earthing.

Closing Statement:

Enjoying the outdoors has helped me immensely with my mental health and better state of mind. I enjoy taking walks, going to the bay or ocean, and taking photos of nature. I sometimes bring my breakfast or lunch to the Barnegat Bay and listen to the waves crashing as I eat and drink my water or ice tea. I also make use the outdoors and utilize my iPhone to do my research and make notes to write my weekly articles. This is one of the benefits of working remotely for me and I find it more productive and creative.

Source of Information: Various Google Searches and Personal Experiences

Until Next Week, Stay Safe and Well!

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