Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Getting Outdoors This Fall
Enjoying the great outdoors enhances the five senses. It provides a physical workout and stimulates the mind, allowing it to absorb the sounds, sights, smells and feel of nature. While every season has its charm, being outside in the heart of autumn is a perfect way to live a healthy lifestyle and appreciate earth’s bounties before winter sets in.
Autumn brings sunshine, rain, crisp fresh air, sweet aromas, bright colors and that feeling of being a kid again, especially around Halloween.
These health benefits of getting outdoors, such as the vitamin D provided by sunshine, will help in creating a fall physical fitness routine.
Walking, jogging and biking are excellent forms of aerobic exercise, especially in cool autumn weather. Trekking through parks and trails when the leaves are in full color increases the heart rate and burns calories. Simple exercises one would do in a gym or fitness studio are just as easy to tackle in a park or with playground equipment. Running, jogging and walking along lakes, rivers, open fields and rough terrain can be just the type of physical challenge your body needs this season. Breathe deeply and enjoy the scenery and extra endorphins!
The human body absorbs up to 90% of vitamin D from sunshine. While present in some foods, spending time outdoors is a great way to get your dose of the “sunshine vitamin” because sunlight begins a biological process that the body needs. Research on Vitamin D indicates it protects against some cancers, osteoporosis and heart disease. It also helps combat depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Light is a natural mood enhancer. Opening a window is nice, but venturing outdoors when the sun is out — even on a partly cloudy day — can improve attitude and outlook. Sunlight triggers the release of the hormone serotonin. It helps to keep people calm and focused. Walking, running, jogging and biking are more fun when the sun is shining brightly. The sun also has a role in battling depression. Autumn has its share of cloudy, rainy days that bring downward mood swings and that’s when serotonin levels take a nosedive. Take advantage of sunny days to balance everything out.
It’s easier to focus on work and everyday tasks when feeling good. Being outside in the helps because sunlight affects serotonin and depression. Ever wonder why schools added recess? Children concentrate better after being outside. Get the kids away from TV screens and video games and encourage them to go outside to walk, bike and play.
Engaging with the five senses helps people release stress. Breathing in autumn’s air, listening to the birds, feeling the warmth of sunshine, seeing beautiful colors, and tasting that freshly-picked apple allows men, women and children to appreciate nature at its best. Stop to smell the marigolds, pansies, chrysanthemums and asters. Stomp on some crunchy leaves.
Being healthy in body and mind takes some work. Being outside in the autumn weather is a great way to stay active and play. A healthy lifestyle is lived in all seasons.
Meet the Author
Kyle Ryan is an outdoorsman who loves photographing everything in nature. He spends most of the year traveling and saves money by camping at the best spots around the country.
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