Do you love nature and the great outdoors? If you’re looking for a relaxing and stress-relieving activity, there are few places better to find this than the great outdoors. Exercise can be a a great stress-reliever. It’s not only essential for overall health and wellness, but it’s also a natural mood booster. Some activities have the added benefit of relieving the symptoms of chronic pain conditions. Here are five calming outdoor activities your doctor, chiropractor, or health care provider may recommend for de-stressing in green spaces.
You don’t have to be a master gardener to enjoy the benefits of planting and caring for ornamental or edible plants. Spending time in the garden reminds many of childhood’s zen-like state of deep play. A Dutch study from 2012 suggested that gardening is among the most stress-relieving of leisure activities. Six or more hours per week spent gardening can even help improve the symptoms of mood disorders including major depression and bipolar II disorder.
A dip in a lake, a pool, or the ocean not only releases endorphins but also builds strength without overly stressing the joints, making it an ideal exercise for those recovering from an injury. An hour of swimming at a moderate pace burns up to 500 calories, but you don’t have to exercise vigorously to appreciate the calming effects of spending time in warm, blue water and sunshine.
3. Tai Chi
This favorite exercise of those with health conditions that limit their ability to tolerate strenuous activity combines deep, mindful breathing with a series of slow, graceful movements. It requires no equipment. You can participate in tai chi formally in a class in the park or you can learn a few moves and practice them alone in a quiet outdoor spot. Its many benefits include increased aerobic fitness, energy, flexibility, and stamina as well as improving your overall sense of well-being.
If you have an injury, are pregnant, or have a chronic pain condition, talk to your chiropractor or personal physician before starting a new exercise program.
Walking is an activity most people can do without any special training or planning at no cost. A 2013 study in the UK suggested that walking outdoors puts the brain into a state of calm awareness similar to that of meditation.
Like tai chi, yoga can be practiced alone or in a group and is enhanced by being practiced outdoors during pleasant weather conditions. Outdoor yoga increases focus and wakeful relaxation, heightens the breath awareness needed for yoga, and replenishes the energy that extended periods of stress deplete.
Each of these five activities is good for relieving stress. They’re not the only activities that work for this purpose, those. Any outdoor activity you enjoy can help you relieve stress if you make time for it.