The Best Outdoor Activities to Relieve Stress
Stress has significant adverse impacts on people's physical and psychological well-being. For example, it can lead to depression, which is associated with neurological, gastrointestinal, and cardiac health problems. Managing stress early becomes a critical part of improving one's health outcomes. While there exist numerous therapies to control and relieve stress, some of the interventions are time-consuming, inconvenient, and costly. For example, nobody enjoys paying a psychiatrist to help them manage their stress. On the positive side, almost any type of exercise can help with stress relief. Besides being free, the following exercises provide individuals with a fun, enjoyable, and constructive way to relieve stress.
Credit: SHVETS production | Source: Pexels
Walking is one of the simplest and most effective techniques to relieve stress. It is a form of aerobic exercise that can be performed at any location. Just by putting on your favorite pair of shoes, you can get going with this strategy. Walking has been used as a technique to reduce stress since antiquity and it remains an effective way to manage stress today. According to a study conducted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, "walking may cause mood improvements through its ability to promote relaxation, reduce tension and anxiety, and improve self-efficacy for managing stressful situations." The positive effects of walking or hiking on stress reduction come from exposure to the following elements that impact people's physiological processes.
Spending time outside in the sun can substantially assist with stress relief. A recent study conducted by the Department of Psychology at Seoul National University found that “subjective stress levels were lower in each of the sunlight conditions than in the shade condition.” Sunlight provides people with a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Furthermore, it triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers. Therefore, spending time outside during daylight can help individuals improve their mood, decrease stress, and improve overall psychological well-being.
Listening to natural sounds like waves crashing against the shoreline can be very sedative to mind and body alike. Natural sounds like these provide us with a sense of serenity that can have therapeutic benefits. This particular strategy can be done anywhere and it is free. The calming effects of sounds like the ocean are very powerful and can be used to manage stress, improve sleep, and help people relax.
The sense of smell is linked to the part of the brain called the limbic system. This section of our brain links emotions with memory. Therefore, aromas give us a psychological boost that allows us to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. Scented candles are an easy way to use this strategy at home or in the office where you spend most of your day. Besides being a creative way to relieve stress, candles can be used to make a positive impact on the ambiance of the area in which they are placed.
Credit: Kindel Media | Source: Pexels
Swimming provides a significant number of health benefits, some of which include improved strength, stamina, and weight loss. It can help strengthen your heart muscles and keep your cholesterol levels in check. However, its mood improvement and stress reduction abilities are of primary importance. Swimming is an excellent way to relieve stress. Numerous studies have shown that it can reduce anxiety, depression, and feelings of anger. One study found that lap swimming reduces tension levels by 18 percent after one session while another determined that 90 minutes of aerobic exercise reduced anger levels by 59 percent. If a swim-happy person is feeling particularly stressed, it is recommended that he or she swims for at least 20 minutes. Remember that physical activity helps the mind by releasing endorphins and other mood-altering chemicals into the bloodstream. What’s more this outdoor activity is open to people of all ages including toddlers. In case decides to swim in a social context with friends and family members, the social aspect of the activity.
Credit: Cottonbro | Source: Pexels
No matter what your reasons are for gardening, stress relief is one of the many benefits that come along with it. When you spend time in nature, the physical and emotional stress that comes from living in urban areas is taken away. It makes you feel more refreshed and less stressed. In addition to these effects, it also has a positive effect on your mood and makes you feel better throughout the day. Gardening is not just about the plants one grows. It's about taking a break from the hectic world and sitting out in nature for a bit. You can feel that tension start to melt away as you indulge in the beauty of nature, relax your body, and soothe your mind. If you garden at home or work outside, this can be especially therapeutic. But even if it's only a five-minute break while you're at work on an otherwise hectic day, it will have an enormous impact on your mental health and wellness.
This is because of the way biology works on an unconscious level. The body has a sort of built-in relaxation response that it can activate when faced with threats or stressful situations. This happens automatically, without us even realizing we're experiencing it. The relaxation response helps the body and mind deal with stress in several ways. It can help you to relax, strengthen your immune system, increase your endurance and strength, and also boost your mood.
Gardening has many other health benefits as well. For example, it helps reduce blood pressure. This occurs because physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and fitness level. Gardening also improves the quality of sleep that you get because it's a great way to get exercise while you slumber. Even if you're not able to garden in an environment that's completely organic, lawn care products like lawn fertilizer and weed killers are still beneficial.
As demonstrated above, you don’t have to look for complicated approaches to relieve stress. Outdoor activities provide an effective way to escape the stressful urban environment and routine and engage in relaxing and enjoyable activities. The activities also give you a chance for self-reflection and stretching. Besides, these outdoor activities are associated with numerous physical health benefits.