04/18/2018
Exercise outside

The Great Outdoors and Your Brain Health

What if we told you there was a way you can improve your mood, increase your energy, sneak in exercise, boost your focus, and bump up your creativity levels simply by taking a few steps outside? Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Wrong! Heading outdoors has been shown to do all of this plus more. Everyone loves to be outdoors, and the outdoors has been shown to benefit your brain health. So, now that the weather is finally taking a turn, here are the positives that the outdoors has on your brain health:
 

  • Improve your mood
  • Exercise
  • Boost your focus
  • Creativity

 

4 Ways the Outdoors Improves Your Brain Health:

  1. Improve your mood. You’re probably well aware that heading outside is an easy way to improve your mood, but perhaps you’re unclear why your mood improves. It’s been shown that being in the light can improve our mood – the outdoors tends to be lighter than the indoors. There have been studies done showing that spending as little as five minutes outdoors can help to improve our mood. When you’re in nature and enjoying the outdoors, research has also found that your cortisol levels (AKA the “stress hormone”) are reduced. So, if you are ever feeling down, try heading outside for as little as five minutes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll turn your mood around!
     
  2. Exercise. When you go outside, it’s almost second nature to want to move around and explore the outdoors. However, did you know that exercise can feel easier than when you exercise inside? You’ve probably noticed that time seems to stand still when you’re on the treadmill, and you may keep your eyes glued to the time remaining. When you’re outside, you have the sights and sounds of nature to keep you distracted. Studies have even shown that people who have exercised outside rather than inside reported that they had more positive moods and felt less strained. Do your brain health and body a favor, and lace up those shoes and go for a stroll outside!
     
  3. Boost your focus. We’ve all been there – you’re sitting in the office and can’t quite seem to get that last project done. Everything seems to be distracting you. A simple solution? Take yourself outside, and take a quick five-minute stroll to give yourself a reset. Walking in nature has been shown to lower stress levels and improve well-being and brain health. Next time you feel like you need to sneak out of the office for a couple of minutes of nature-time – well – your secret is safe with us!
     
  4. Creativity. Your creative thinking will improve when you head to the outdoors. It makes complete sense if you think about it. You’re taking a break from the constant access to technology, and allowing your mind to wander. A recent study found that people performed 50% better on a problem-solving test after they had spent time in nature compared to sitting inside. Next time you feel like you are in a creative thinking rut, another five-minute walk around the block will do more than you’d think for your creativity and brain health!

Although spring is getting a slow start in parts of the country, warmer weather will be on its way! When spring weather finally arrives, be sure to enjoy every bit of it, and know that your body and brain health are benefitting!