For a Good Mood, Get Outdoors

Skip the gym to maximize the benefits of exercise.
March 13, 2013

Before you lace up and head for the fitness center or the spare bedroom where you keep the treadmill, consider taking your sweat session outside. Along with fresh air, sweet smells and new sights, you’ll experience something else: happiness. University of Essex scientists found people who exercised outdoors for just five minutes improved their mood and reduced their stress, especially when working out near water. As the study describes, nature is a place we go to escape from the stress that won't leave us alone in modern life, and the "opportunity for relaxation and recreation has a positive influence on our emotional and physical well-being."

Even better, physical activity has its benefits of positive physical and mental health. And according to the study's findings, participants "felt less stressed, more alert and alive, happier and more relaxed." When you combine physical activity and exposure to nature, this "green exercise" can be a calming activity with benefits of improving your psychological well-being and physical health. Walking with friends makes it a social event, and having the company of others only adds to that refreshing feeling. Green exercise could be your rejuvenating break from the real world. 

Don’t live near a lake or park? No sweat: After-work golf with a client, an early-morning tennis game with your business partner, or even just a lunchtime walk around the block counts toward your daily dose of nature. 

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