Fact: Working out is a great way to burn off stress and boost your mood. That’s because exercise has been shown to lower cortisol levels (aka the body’s stress hormone) and release endorphins (the body’s happy hormone). And when you do it in a park, the woods, a beach or any natured-filled space, you get the added benefits of nature! So we’re asking everyone to spend more time with nature to get a boost of happy (aka #NatureReset), and sharing ideas on how to deal with stress through 5 calming outdoor sports.
If you’re in an area where you can go hiking, get out there asap! But don’t worry about how easy or advanced the trails are, just being surrounded by plants, grass, and trees has serious stress-fighting benefits. Case in point: One study found that hiking through greenspaces has the same effect on your brain as meditation. So say “yes” to ditching stress by taking a hike!
Walking or Running
Dealing with stress but nowhere near the woods? Don’t worry! You can still get in on the de-stress benefits of spending time with nature without going on a hike. How? Instead of hitting the gym, take your walking or running routine outside. Go for a walk through your neighborhood, a run at an outdoor track, or head anywhere that gets you outdoors and into nature.
If you’re curious about how to boost your mood through gentle exercise look no further than yoga. Whether you’re just getting started or consider yourself a master, yoga has the unique ability to strengthen your body and calm you brain like no other physical activity. On nice days, try taking your practice to the next level by taking it outside! You’ll quickly find that the health benefits of nature amplify the stress-busting and mood-boosting effects of doing yoga. Bad weather? Try listening to a nature sounds app while you go through your flow to get the same soothing effect!
Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball & Beyond
Whether you’re at the park or at the beach, playing sports outdoors is way better than doing them inside. Like we mentioned earlier, both exercising and being with nature lower stress hormones and give you a boost of happy. Plus, when you’re outside, you get the added benefit of sunlight, which is responsible for creating and activating Vitamin D when it hits your skin. As you probably already know, Vitamin D is one of those things your body needs to fight off colds, flus, and other illnesses. And as you definitely know, too much sun can be harmful for your skin. So don’t forget to apply some SPF before hitting the field or the court!
Swimming, Surfing & Other Water Sports
If you’re searching for ways to be happierand have a pool, lake, or ocean nearby, water sports might be the perfect de-stress option for you. Since lots of outdoor pools are surrounded by greenspaces, they help maximize the stress-lowering benefits of swimming. And for those who live or spend time at blues spaces (think bodies of water like lakes, rivers, oceans, and more), one study found that they can give you a feeling of relaxation. So going swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, or doing other water sports can make you feel ultra-chill.