Research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress and anxiety. Interacting with natural spaces, sounds and light has a calming effect. Any natural setting will do—the neighbourhood, the beach, or a park—the goal is to get away from over-stimulating settings and surround yourself with nature.
Group nature walks are just as effective as solo treks in terms of mental health benefits. Listen to your favourite playlist or grab a family member to join you in an outdoor activity.
Relaxing or exercising outdoors: Mental health benefits from spending time outdoors can be achieved whether you’re relaxing, exercising, or enjoying a meal. Try to include outdoor time in your regular routine—reading, listening to music, or exercising will all lead to an improved mood.
How do outdoor workouts compare to indoor?
- Improved exercise retention—people who exercise outside are more consistent.
- Increased duration—outdoor workouts tend to be longer than those performed indoors.
- Decreased perceived exertion—outdoor workouts are perceived as less strenuous, even when intensity is matched.
—Amanda Firby, Parks and Rec Committee Chair