The Outdoors and Vitamin D
One of the benefits of being outdoors is that the UV rays from the sun produce vitamin D3. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to depressive symptoms, including fatigue, mood changes, and muscle and joint pain. Vitamin D is one of the vitamins the body needs to stay mentally and physically healthy. By going outdoors and having sun exposure on the skin, vitamin D is produced. Although being in the sun can be good for mental health, it is still important to remember to take appropriate precautions, such as limiting exposure, wearing sunscreen, and wearing a hat, when necessary or when the UV index warrants.
Improve Mood and Reduce Stress
Spending time outdoors not only reduces negative emotions such as anxiety and depression, but it also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone in the body, cortisol and even boosts self-esteem. Even just a few minutes outside has been proven to reduce stress, shown in reductions in muscle tension and blood pressure, as well as positive changes in brain activity. Studies have shown higher serotonin levels in the brain on sunny days, regardless of the temperature. Serotonin is the chemical in the body that regulates depression and anxiety.
Improve Physical Health
Engaging in outdoor activities helps get the body moving, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle and ultimately contributing to better overall well-being. Outdoor environments are excellent for physical activity and are more likely to motivate people to exercise. A 30-minute mindful walk outdoors can help promote psychological and physical wellness. Being outdoors allows people to take in their environment, with lots of different sounds and sights to see, focus on, and enjoy in the moment, ultimately putting the mind at ease.
Connect with Other People and Your Community
Fostering connections with others is vital for mental well-being as it can create social relationships and support. Outdoor activities such as group sports or community outings can positively impact physical and psychological well-being. Connecting with others provides a sense of belonging in the community.
Outdoor activities can range from physical activities such as a walk, run, or sport to more laidback activities such as gardening or sitting outside. Regardless of the activity, spending time outdoors significantly impacts overall well-being, as evidenced by reductions in stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
Take proactive steps towards achieving a healthier state of mind. Book a session with Emily Baker and embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth through therapy.