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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Borrego MacCallon

Movement and the Outdoors for Our Mental Health

We're all well aware of the importance of movement and physical activity to our physical health, but it can be equally beneficial to our mental health.

But what kind of movement am I talking about?

Any kind of physical activity, big or small, counts. In particular, patterned repetitive rhythmic movements are highly regulating and calming to our mind and body.

Examples of Movement Dancing Bouncing a ball Swimming Blowing (and popping) bubbles Walking Playing with your dog Hiking Jumping Jacks Disc golf Sports Biking Weight lifting Gardening Yoga Jump rope Kayaking Skateboarding Ping pong Laser tag Trampoline Water aerobics Wheelchair basketball/tennis Yard work Wash the car *the list is endless, the key is to find something that’s fun and works for you!

Benefits of Movement

Movement can be a major buffer and tool to improve mental health but is often overlooked as an intervention. Here are some of the many benefits of movement on mental health!

  • Releases endorphins and relieves stress

  • Helps emotions move through the body

  • Strength the connection we have with our body

  • Can help with mild to moderate depression

  • Boosts physical and emotional energy

  • Improves concentration, motivation, memory, and mood


The Great Outdoors

When you combine movement with the outdoors you get a high impact intervention that compounds the benefits without changing the activity level.

Research shows an even greater improvement in the following areas as compared to the similar activity in an urban area or indoors:

  • Self-esteem

  • Mood

  • Meaning and self-realization

  • Increased motivation

So go enjoy some outdoor activity and drink plenty of water!

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