Many studies suggest spending time outdoors, doing something we like, helps keep the stress levels under control. Here are my top 5 activities:
Go for a walk
Going for a walk is a great stress reliever. You get fresh air and time to think. In most cases, it is also an opportunity to get away from stressors.
The awesome thing about walking is that it can be done almost anywhere and doesn't require any equipment. You can simply walk around the block after dinner or step away from the office during lunch break.
As you progress, you can increase your daily walking distance and potentially move to jogging and eventually running. Personally, running is my favorite outdoor exercise, I always feel good after a section thanks to the endorphins being released. I also see running as “meditation in motion”, which I often find myself forgetting the day's irritations, concentrating only on the body's movements.
If you have an entire day free, why not go for a hike?
In contrast to our homes and offices, natural areas are generally quiet and peaceful. Hiking gets you away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life and can help give you some isolation that reduces your stress level. Some studies even suggest that simply listening to the sound of nature helps recharge your mind, body, and soul.
The long muscle movements and deep breathing required in swimming, much like in yoga, encourage new brain cell growth and release endorphins. With modern lifestyles, we often spend a long time looking at our phones and computer screens which sometimes causes emotional stress. Swimming is a great way to take a break from these simulations. Since swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise, it also allows those with painful joints, or injury to exercise weightlessly and without pain.
Not every outdoor activity has to involve exercise to be a great stress reliever – a good book plus the great outdoors – Perfect!
Reading is proven to help reduce stress. Whether it is a romance novel, or a sci-fi story, while your brain is engaged in the story, your heart rate slows down and muscles relax. Reading also provides inspiration and knowledge, which can bring a great amount of relief and comfort. Taking your book outside is even better, as the sunlight boosts your energy and concentration, leaving you feeling alert and focused.
It is important to include variety in your life, why not discover new activities that you've never done before? What about:
- Paddle boarding?
- Outdoor yoga?
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