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Mental health benefits of the outdoors

Posted on May 4, 2021

You know that spending time outside feels good.

Taking a break from the rush of our daily lives and breathing in the peace of being surrounded by nature: it’s something special. Do you ever find yourself feeling calmer, more relaxed, or more focused after spending time in nature? That’s because studies show that visiting a forest has real, quantifiable health benefits. Even fifteen minutes spent outside may improve both your physical and mental health.

Two adults walk on the trail in spring time. A colourful painted tipi is to their left, partially hidden in tall grasses.

Relieving anxiety, stress, and depression

It’s news to no one that levels of stress, anxiety and depression have risen in the past year. But, the good news is that research shows a link between exposure to nature and stress reduction. Time in nature can counter depression, decrease stress levels, improve blood pressure and it has also been shown to boost creative and cognitive abilities.

Two older adults walk on paved trails leading into the forest in spring time.

What you can do

Getting outdoors doesn’t have to be a lot of work. There are a lot of simple ways you can get quality time in nature.

Start with taking a walk in the woods. Nature walks help reduce stress while improving mental well-being. Want to take your walk to the next level? Try forest bathing.

Move your workout into the outdoors. Regular use of natural areas for physical activity can reduce the risk of mental health. Whether you like walking, cycling, jogging, or doing yoga, try it outside in a natural environment for some mood boosting effects.

Engage your senses. Breathe deep, as the scent of fresh pine has been shown to lower stress and anxiety. Make sure to pause and listen, as studies show that listening to nature sounds like bird songs can help lower stress levels.

Ready for your nature dose?

Make your way to FortWhyte Alive. Get directions.


Photos taken by Kristhine Guerrero