There’s nothing like spending quality time in the outdoors to reset your mind and body, especially in the summertime. The warm breeze, scenic sunsets, smell of barbecue, and kids running around… what’s not to love?
Well, there is one thing we can think of—insects!
Whether they *bug* you or not, we want to share some ways you can reset and feel ready to seize the day in the outdoors.
Oh, and that bug bite problem? We can help you with that too.
Get some rest in a hammock
There’s nothing like laying in a hammock to feel comfortable and relaxed. But did you know that hammocks actually help with sleep? If you’re feeling tired after a long day of work, hop into a hammock. Studies show that the swaying, rocking motion that we use to put our babies to sleep actually helps put people of all ages to sleep faster too.
Researchers found that people were more likely to fall asleep faster when they were rocked, and had “longer periods of deep sleep and fewer micro-wakes.” With that in mind, let’s all hop in a hammock! July 22 is National Hammock Day, but we don’t think you should wait until then. Get that rest and relaxation you deserve!
Take 5-minute walk breaks
We’ve all found ourselves glued to our computers, whether we’re working on an important project or binge watching the latest episode of Queer Eye. There are so many reasons to get up and get your body moving during the work day, so why don’t we do it more often?
Some benefits of multiple short, or long, daily walks are increased mood and creativity, in addition to a number of physical benefits, according to The Muse. Walking causes heart rate to increase, which then circulates “more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain,” says Ferris Jabr of The New Yorker. Furthermore, Jabr adds that studies show people perform better on tests relating to memory and attention after exercise, even if it’s just a walk.
So our advice to you when you receive a less than ideal email is to go for a 5-minute walk! You’ll feel much better if you do.
Keep your circadian rhythm in check
Circadian rhythm is an important part of keeping your body feeling healthy and functioning properly. So, what is it? The Sleep Foundation defines circadian rhythm as a “24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle.” Have you ever taken a long flight, landed in your destination city and felt tired, out of sorts, or jet-lagged? If so, that’s an indication of your circadian rhythm being out of line.
There are a few elements that play into circadian rhythm. Darkness impacts your circadian rhythm by alerting a portion of your brain, the hypothalamus, to feel tired, which in turn, signals your body to release melatonin, causing you to feel sleepy. Light, on the other hand, resets your circadian clock, which causes you to feel energetic and alert in the morning as you are exposed to light. Exposing yourself to light in the morning is a great way to recharge your mind and body on a daily basis. Dr. Emmanuel During, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, says exposing yourself to light and creating a daily routine centered around exposing your body to morning light, like walking your dog around the block or walking to a local coffee shop, has a number of benefits to help you avoid grogginess.
Release energy outdoors to calm your mind
There are a number of positive benefits to working out, specifically running, outdoors. If you have any friends or family members that like to run, you may have heard them talk about runner’s high, which is the natural high they feel as a direct result of going on a run. So, what is runner’s high, and is it real or just a hoax? Runner’s high is caused by released endorphins, also known as “nature’s home-brewed opiates,” as Runner’s World says. In 2008, German researchers found that runs lasting around two hours spewed endorphins. If you’re looking for that runner’s high, try pushing yourself, but not too hard to where you won’t be able to reap the benefits of the endorphins because of exhaustion. In addition to runner’s high, other great mental health benefits of exercising outdoors include:
- Exposure to the sun, which results in vitamin D production
- Increased productivity and creativity
- Reduced stress, due to lower levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine
The list of positive benefits of spending time and recharging outdoors is endless. There’s no time like the present—especially when many establishments are closed due to COVID-19—to recharge your body, mind, and spirit in the beautiful outdoors (while practicing safe social distancing, of course). Whether you live in a concrete jungle or the Rocky Mountains, we promise you won’t regret getting your body moving in the great outdoors.