Because we’re lucky enough to live in Cheyenne, Wyoming, we have access to all sorts of outdoor adventures. From hiking at Blair Wallis to rock climbing at Vedauwoo to fishing at Curt Gowdy, there’s no shortage of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Some of those activities require a bit of travel, and most of us are too busy to participate in them more often than weekends. The good news is that you can also enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation in your own backyard – every day of the week!
While there are lots of activities that can boost your mental and physical health, outdoor activities in particular have a strong positive effect on most aspects of life. Read on to discover the amazing benefits that getting outside has on your body and mind.
Being Outdoors Is Good For Your Physical Health
The mind and the body are intimately connected, and the health of one affects the health of the other. We can’t say enough about how important exercise is when it comes to enjoying a good quality of life!
Getting outside almost always involves physical activity, which strengthens muscles and bones, lowers blood pressure, boosts metabolism, and even decrease cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods. Recent studies also show that outdoor exercise may even decrease your risk of cancer! (Just be sure to protect your skin by applying sunscreen and wearing a hat.)
Exercise also releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. They can help you feel more relaxed and are extremely helpful in managing chronic pain.
How The Outdoors Helps Your Mental Health – And Your Growth As A Person
The demands of life are ever increasing, and sadly, depression and anxiety are both on the rise. Everyone experiences some degree of these ailments at some point in their lives, and the good news is there’s a lot that can be done to combat them. Study after study shows that being outside can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as combat depression. Something as simple as going for a morning walk can cast the rest of your day in a much more positive light.
Another benefit of being in nature is that it can stir feelings of wonder, humility, and respect. This often translates into their behavior towards adults, other children, and in the classroom. Children who spend time in nature often grow up to be happier, more resilient, more creative adults that can build and keep healthy relationships.
So this week, make some time to get outside! It can do wonders for your mental and physical health, it requires no prescription, and there are no side effects.
Nature Is Especially Good For Kids
Think back to some of your favorite childhood memories. How many of them involved being outside? Whether it’s a picnic in the park with friends or camping in the Yellowstone backcountry with your family, we’re willing to bet that many of your favorite memories involve the great outdoors in some way or another.
Today’s children are spending increasing amounts of time in front of screens, including TV, games, and smartphones. It’s important to balance out screen time with a healthy dose of active, outdoor play time. Even an hour or two of playing in the backyard can offer amazing benefits like:
- Boosting brain development
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Developing social skills
- Developing problem solving skills
- Creating opportunities for unstructured, creative play
- Increasing attention span
- Strengthening family bonds
So next time the kids are complaining that they’re bored, just send them outside! It can do wonders for their development – and more immediately, their mood.
Here at Capitol Counseling, we want to help make sure that our fellow Cheyenne residents have access to quality mental health services. If you are struggling or simply need to talk, please get in touch with us by giving us a call at (307) 631-5574, filling out our online contact form, or messaging us on Facebook.
We are still offering virtual/telehealth services for anyone who would like them, and would be happy to accommodate your wishes upon request.