Hi, I'm currently in third year studying MChem Chemistry for Drug Discovery and Development. I am passionate about science , LGBTQ+ rights and swimming too.
Be it running, cycling, climbing or just walking, there are so many different things you can do outdoors that are great for your mental and physical health. In this post, I will be discussing the benefits that getting outdoors can have on your mental health.
Research has found that regular exercise can be very effective in improving symptoms of mild depression. This shows that getting exercise outdoors can be a great way to improve your overall mood. Why not try getting outdoors with your friends or family – the combination of being outdoors, getting exercise and socialising all at the same time can have drastic positive effects on your mood!
Reduces stress levels
Research has shown that going for a walk and getting outdoors is one of the best ways to reduce your stress levels. This is because it reduces blood pressure and the levels of the stress hormone cortisol alongside the calming effects of rhythmic exercise. Lots of people find that returning to nature is a great way to calm down and de-stress, so why not try it yourself?
Helps keep your mind and body active
Sometimes it can be very easy to get weighed down in uni work and let it take over. Getting outdoors can be an amazing stimulator for your body and mind to keep them in top shape ready for the busy day ahead. Although it may seem like keeping going to get the work done will be more productive, it is likely that you will actually get more done if you take a break, get outdoors for a little while and then continue.
Can encourage you to try new things
If you love getting outdoors but want to try something new, then why not set yourself a challenge to do a certain number of different outdoor activities each week? This could be a walk with friends, meditation in the park, or running with a social team. Setting this challenge weekly or monthly allows you to try new activities and keep your brain stimulated. One of the new activities that you try could become your new favourite or you might hate it, but if you don’t try it once, you will never know!
If you are having difficultly sleeping and this is having knock-on effects on your mental health, then getting outside regularly might help. Studies have found that even just going for a walk in the afternoon/evenings can help you relax and increase your quality of sleep. Getting enough sleep improves your brain function and can have a positive impact on your mental health. Check out my post on how a good nights sleep can benefit you here.
Improves focus and concentration
In recent years there has been an increased expectation for constant hard work and this requires both good concentration and focus. Research has shown that spending time outdoors can restore our concentration and allow us to focus for longer. Personally, when I catch myself no longer being able to focus on an assignment or lecture notes, I know that I will be more productive after taking a walk or going for a run. This is because I can leave my work, go outside, reset my concentration, and then fully focus on the task at hand.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have a greater understanding of some of the benefits that getting outdoors can have on your mental health. Let us know how you enjoy getting outdoors by tagging us in your photos on social media @uolstudentlife!
“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mind”