Health

Get Outdoors: Four Ways to Boost Your Well-Being While in Nature

out in nature

One of the easiest ways to improve your overall wellbeing is to spend more time in the great outdoors. So put down your smartphone and get ff the grid for a few hours or, heck, an entire weekend. Here are four ways to enjoy the benefits that nature provides for both your mind and body.

1. Take a Hike

A University of Michigan study concluded that something as simple as strolling through nature can improve your short-term memory more than strolling through your neighborhood or spending the same amount of time on the treadmill at your local gym. Exploring nature can also give you a boost in mental clarity, something from which we could all benefit.

Of course, you can walk or even go on a bike ride. But besides being a great way to become one with nature, hiking also gives you a full-body workout. And it’s a particularly great option if you tend to get bored with your everyday routine. With a little strategic planning, you can make every workout unique by choosing a different hiking trail.

Just be sure to always be properly prepared when venturing outdoors, especially in remote areas, by bringing along plenty of water and snacks. Prepare your vehicle, too, starting by getting a tune up, topping off your fluids, and replacing worn or balding tires to avoid a roadside breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

2. Find a Scenic Running Route

If running outdoors is your preferred form of cardio, you can give yourself a healthy dose of natural beauty as you log your miles by finding some scenic routes. You may want to locate running paths near a small river or lake, as water has a calming effect on the mind, which can help you reach an even deeper level of Zen while on your run.

However, don’t let yourself space out completely and be mindful of the condition of the surface you’re running on. A running track (like the one at a nearby high school or college) is going to be the easiest on the joints and offers a smooth, even surface. Paced sidewalks and paths are a little harder on the joints but are less likely to make you trip. Unpaved trails may provide a softer surface, but the uneven terrain can make it easier to injure yourself, especially if you’re prone to ankle injuries.

3. Unplug and Practice Mindful Meditation

The benefits of meditation are well-known and universal. Indeed, achieving higher levels of mental clarity can lower stress and anxiety levels, as well as heighten your memory and improve your sleeping patterns. Of course, making it a habit to clear your mind and focus your thoughts on the present moment is easier said than done.

When you’re in the throes of home or work life, tuning out the outside world can feel next to impossible. But when you carve out time to spend in nature — and, more importantly, can ignore any and all distractions — you may be surprised to find that it’s easy to let go of your worries and drift off into a blissful, meditative state.

You don’t have to go far, though. Simply find a quiet place outdoors — perhaps in a secluded garden or near a fountain — so the tinkling sound of water can help drown out any other background noises.

4. Find an Outdoor Yoga Class

For many, yoga is the gateway to ultimate health and wellness, restoring physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing with regular practice. But when you take your yoga mat outside, these benefits can increase, offering you even more relaxation, release, and tranquility.

Look for outdoor yoga classes in your area to experience the benefits for yourself. If you don’t feel like Goggling, your nearest yoga studio or Lululemon store should be a good starting point.

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Author: Armin Brott

Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men’s health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook.com/mrdad, @mrdad, pinterest.com/mrdad, linkedin.com/in/mrdad, plus.google.com/+mrdad.

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