There are so many different ways to improve your health through vitamins, fruits, vegetables, hydration, and more! What if we told you about an activity that you could go and do today, maybe in your own backyard, and reap a ton of health benefits? It’s simple, all you have to do is go outside!  After spending hours sitting in an air-conditioned office, it’s no wonder that getting outside is a fun way to reset the mind and body. With warmer weather in the forecast, you won’t want to miss the chance to enjoy the great outdoors this season.

Here are some benefits of getting outside:

GREAT EXERCISE WITH LITTLE TO NO COST

Mother nature has given us all a year round pass to the outdoors! Whether you love to walk on a river trail in the summer or snowshoe in the winter, hanging out with nature is an awesome workout with minimal investment. A few items you may want to keep handy are appropriate shoes (like trail sneakers, or snow boots), a hiking pack (for snacks and a first aid kit, just in case), and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on your adventures.

RECENTER YOUR MIND

A study at the University of Michigan found that “short-term memory was increased by 20% by walking in nature.” Our urban roots and indoor office lifestyles fatigue the brain with consistent distractions: cell phones ringing, emails, car horns, etc. When we immerse ourselves in nature, however, we free our mind from these distractions and allow it to rest.

IT’S A NATURAL STRESS RELIEVER

Stress levels, brought on by cortisol, a hormone in our body, can fluctuate in ways that can be detrimental to our productivity and consequently our health. A study in Japan tested cortisol levels in saliva after having participants go on Forest Bathing Trips, or walks in the forest. What they found was that these levels of cortisol were decreased, along with “prefrontal cerebral activity, and blood pressure.” While there are many different ways we can manage our stress levels, an easy way would be to put on a pair of tennis shoes and walk your favorite trail!

The outdoors are restorative and beneficial for your health. The best part is that anyone can reap these benefits in some way, whether you prefer to walk at the park and gaze at the trees, take a stroll on the beach, or go for a mountain bike ride. The possibilities for outdoor recreation are endless and available for you when you need them!