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May 11, 2023
Why We’re Heading Outdoors to Better Our Mental Health

Martha Segovia Calles

woman wearing a green sundress and hat standing in the middle of a grassy field with trees

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Outdoor Exposure as Medicine

With warm weather approaching each week, outdoor exposure and movement can provide reprieve from the struggles of a harsh winter. Outdoor movement increases positive benefits for mental and physical well-being. Following difficulties in engagement with ourselves and others under COVID-19 pandemic advisories we can begin to make small returns to the great outdoors.

Exposure to sunlight improves levels of serotonin, that needed feel-good hormone increasing mood. For example, outdoor exercise, whether a walk or hike, can lead to improved habits and increased socialization, especially if you have a buddy tag along for the journey. With known benefits of outdoor and natural exposure take a look at the West Coast for a new initiative, British Columbia has paved the way for prescription support in the form of a program titled PaRX, the first of its kind offering prescription for national parks. 

Not keen on a challenging hike just yet? Start small! 

  • 10-30 minutes basking in the morning for Vitamin D (don’t forget SPF!)
  • Short walks with a buddy
  • Bike rides
  • Local park visits

Remember to honour what nature has to offer, leave an outdoor site or space as you left it for the next person and always be aware of important information in parks and on routes. Sun protection, water, and good footwear come in handy on longer scheduled nature exposure. When considering habitual mood change, don’t forget to look outdoors!

@theshiftcollab

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