Mental Health Check 101: Walking Outside
Feb 17, 2021
One of the best things you can do for your physical health and mental health is walking outside. Sure, you could hit the treadmill or indoor track, but the effects and benefits simply aren't going to be the same.
Getting outside once a day can do the body a lot of good. It can be something as simple as a walk during your lunch hour or even walking outside with your family after dinner to catch up on how everyone's day was while taking in some fresh air and exercise.
This article will take a deeper dive into how walking outside can improve physical and mental health, in hopes that you decide to implement it into your daily routine.
7 WAYS WALKING OUTSIDE CAN IMPROVE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
Check out the seven benefits below to get a better understanding of how walking outside can be a gamechanger when it comes to improving your day, health, and life.
1. Improve Your Mood
Had a bad day? Maybe week? Perhaps an entire year? You're not alone. But walking outside has the ability to release endorphins that can help improve your mood. Some people may think a treadmill will accomplish the same release of endorphins, and to an extent, it will, but being out in nature can put you in a better state of mind and, for some, it can be extremely relaxing.
Many will find that there's nothing better than walking outside, enjoying nature, taking in some fresh air, and moving around to help awaken your mind and body.
2. Reduce Stress
You're stressed. You don't need to prove that to anyone. We all live crazy busy lives where we run from one thing to the next. We have a pile of stuff on our "to-do" list as tall as the Empire State building, and that stress can cause your cortisol levels to rise, which can lower immunity and increase ghrelin (a hunger hormone) – causing you to be hungry all the time and potentially lead to weight gain.
Walking outside and being in nature is a natural stress reducer. If you want to improve your physical and mental health, find time each day to get outdoors and walk.
Related Article: Mental Health Check 101 — Pushing Yourself in the Gym
3. Aid in Weight Loss
This benefit is fairly straight forward. Walking outside can help you burn more calories during the day and help increase your activity level. It is recommended that you get in 150 minutes of exercise each week for health benefits. That can easily be accomplished with a 30-minute walk five days a week. You don't even need to do 30 minutes all at one time, you can split it up throughout the day if you wish.
Exercise can help improve your physical health, which can directly help increase your mental health. Some people hate the way they look when they see themselves in a mirror. This can negatively impact mental health. When individuals work towards improving their health and the way they look, they can feel better about themselves, boost confidence, and the results can improve their body image issues that were causing them to feel stressed and have negative thoughts.
4. Increase Vitamin D Levels
That big bright ball in the sky does a lot more than warm things up outside. Walking outside during the day can help increase vitamin D levels thanks to the sun's UV rays. During the colder months, many people suffer from seasonal depression due to not getting enough sunlight each day.
By walking outside, you can naturally boost your own vitamin D production, which has been shown to not only aid in improving immunity but also help improve mood and mental health. Just make sure you protect your skin with SPF before heading outside to prevent any damage that can be done to the skin due to the UV rays.
Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce inflammation and protect neurons in the brain. Being outside in the sun for as little as 10 minutes can be enough to kickstart your body's natural vitamin D production.
5. Fresh Air Helps Revitalize You
Fresh air can do the mind and body a lot of good. A fun fact that not many people realize is that your brain demands around three times as much oxygen as your muscles. The fresh air you breathe in from walking outside can help improve brain function and revitalize your mind and body, which can also increase your performance at work and in the gym.
I've you've ever gone out in nature and taken some deep breaths, you almost sense a difference in the air quality. It's refreshing. It's crisp. You can notice a drastic difference in how you feel mentally and physically when you are behind a desk all day and when you're outside in nature.
6. Boost Creativity
Have you ever felt like you were in a funk and lost all creativity? Maybe you were writing something, planning something, or neck deep in work projects that you were struggling with? Have you ever gone outside to get some fresh air, only to come back inside full of creativity? Walking outside can help you get your mojo back.
Researchers have found that those who move throughout the day are more creative than those who sit. Therefore, it can be advantageous for you to get up and take a walk during your lunch break to keep the creative juices flowing. Also, circling back to #1, when you're in a good mood, you are able to perform better and therefore may find you're more creative.
Walking improves blood flow to not only the muscle but also the brain, which can help provide the brain with fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients. When you feed the brain what it needs, performance can get to an all-time high.
7. Heighten Concentration
Are you losing focus? Consider walking outside. It has been shown to help improve concentration as well as brain function. When compared to shorter walks, those who walk longer distances throughout the week have been shown to preserve more of the gray matter in their brain, which can improve cognitive functioning.
If you have kids, get them involved as well. Walking outside and keeping them active can improve their mental health, cognition, and attention. Besides, it won't be long until you're not "cool enough" to hang out with them, so get in the quality time while you still can (they grow up fast).
Bridge the Gap in Micronutrients to Improve Mental Health
Physical and mental health are things we should all pay close attention to. While walking outside can help improve both, there's something else that can be done to further enhance your health – such as using a high-quality multivitamin.
Evogen Nutrition EvoVite is an ultra-pure multivitamin/mineral supplement that provides superior bioavailability to enhance health and performance. Unfortunately, many people neglect micronutrients and only put their focus on total calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat). Micronutrients are needed to maximize our body's ability to perform and function optimally. When deficiencies creep in, it can decrease immunity, increase the risk of illnesses and disease, and won't allow you to function to the best of your abilities (both mentally and physically).
If you want to enhance your physical and mental health, on top of walking outside and taking in that amazing fresh air, utilize the power of Evogen Nutrition EvoVite to bridge any gaps you may have nutritionally.