5 Reasons to get outside this Summer

5 Reasons to get outside this Summer
July 21, 2015 David Shanley, Psy.D.

5 Reasons to get outside this Summer
We’re now a month into Summer, and are you getting outside as much as you would like to? Here are some reasons why it’s worth putting that effort in and following through on some activities, not just talking about it.

1. Improve mood – It’s a fact, physical activity improves mental health. It gets the blood flowing, neurons firing, and positive chemicals releasing in your brain. You feel better and happier emotionally, and it can help work out any stress and anxiety you may be feeling. It also often provides the sensation of “clearing one’s mind” or allowing for a new perspective on something that has been troublesome.

2. Connect with others – While it is great to get outside and exercise on your own, why not bring a friend? Make it an excuse to call up that friend you haven’t seen for a while, or to ask that special someone out on a date. Outdoor activities are a great way to connect with others, share a meaningful experience, and bond over something you both enjoy. Mix it up from going to the bars or the movies, and instead do something that will create a fun, shared memory with someone you care about.

3. Practice mindfulness in nature – How many times in the last hour have you checked your phone, texts, email, or Facebook? While these can be important and helpful means of communication in our lives, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and forget about the world that exists around us. So, this Summer, take some time to get out into nature and practice being fully present in your surroundings and activity. Hike, mountain bike, swim, kayak, you name it. But wherever you are, that’s where your mind should be. Leave work at work and your smartphone at home (or at least in the car), and take a day to fully appreciate the beautiful world we live in.

4. Improve physical health – Well this one is kind of a no-brainer. So many individuals in our society, including children, are suffering from obesity, diabetes, high-cholesterol, high blood-pressure, and heart attacks. Study after study comes out demonstrating the positive effects of exercise on weight loss and related physical health issues. Stop making excuses, get off the couch, and get some exercise. There is no can or can’t. It’s I will or I won’t. It’s that simple. What choice are you going to make this Summer?

5. Improve self-confidence and self-esteem – Trying a new activity is a great way to push yourself in multiple ways. You get to overcome your fear that you are going to fail (or be horrible at it). Physical activity often involves setting goals and following through, which are great skills and personal attributes to develop and strengthen throughout your life. Completing that hike or bike ride or some other physical activity can give you a sense of accomplishment that you will not get anywhere else. This in turn will build your confidence in taking on challenges in other areas of your life.
Summer is flying by, so take advantage of the beautiful weather and do something outside that will benefit your life in multiple ways.

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