Over the last few months, you’ve no doubt found yourself searching for some sort of magic solution that will instantly eliminate all of your stress. While a stress-relieving spell or potion has yet to be discovered, one of the easiest ways to banish anxiety and boost mood during the warm summer months is to head outside into the sunshine. You’ll get a much needed dose of vitamin D, which will deliver benefits from strong and healthy bones to improved exercise performance and muscle strength to an efficient and powerful immune system. And depending on the activity, there are countless ways that being outdoors can help get rid of your stress. Read on for four of our favorites.
In addition to the physical perks of going for a hike, hiking can go far towards lowering your stress levels. Simply being surrounded by nature’s greenery has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while the tranquility and beauty of an impressive vista will help you forget your worries and to-dos. Hiking also requires the engagement of all the senses, helping you unplug from your responsibilities and be present in the moment, a practice that will promote calm and feelings of zen.
While not as active as some other options, setting up a picnic in a local park with friends or loved ones can do wonders for your mental health. Studies have shown that people have higher levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin on sunny days than they do on cloudy ones, while others have identified a relationship between UV light and the release of feel-good endorphins. When you’re on a picnic, you’re getting these perks while spending quality time with people you enjoy, which will also help banish your stress quickly.
Outdoor Group Fitness
Taking your go-to group fitness class outside is a no brainer. You’ll reap all the benefits of regular exercise, including improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and more self-confidence, plus you’ll get to enjoy them in the fresh air and sunshine. Another of these benefits: Improved moods and freedom from stress. In fact, studies have shown that exercise can be as effective, if not more effective, than medication for treating depression. Plus, it can help lower levels of stress and anxiety by relaxing and releasing any physical tension you are holding in your body and prompting the release of mood-boosting brain chemicals. And if you live in a Power For Life Fitness property, you may be able to reap these benefits for free right now! Ask your property manager if your building is offering outdoor group fitness classes today.
Maybe you don’t have hiking trails or a park near your apartment and you don’t have access to outdoor group fitness classes. Don’t worry! Simply heading outside for a walk, even if it’s through your busy downtown neighborhood, will deliver many of the benefits mentioned above. Regardless of your fitness level, walking will help you strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your flexibility and coordination, and reduce chronic pain. It will also help prevent or manage conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. And of course, it will offer a health-promoting respite from your busy day, serving as a powerful stress reliever.