An Essex study has shown that exercising for as little as five minutes in a park, garden, or other natural environs can boost your self-esteem, according to this Reuters article. Researchers from the esteemed University of Essex in England recently discovered that engaging in “green activities”—named so because they are undertaken in the midst of nature—can potentially improve your mood and increase your sense of wellbeing.
After examining the data of over 1,200 people of varying demographics from 10 related British studies, researchers found that walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding, and farming helped boost the mental health of many of the participants, particularly the youth and those with mental illnesses. Spending time in lush, green settings with a nearby body of water was deemed especially beneficial.
With a busy workweek and jam-packed weekends, some people may find it difficult to fit in a little exercise. But imagine how much better you’d feel in the midst of all that stress if you just took five minutes to work out in the great outdoors—this study has just proven that it’s worth it! Here are a few things you can try:
TAKE A STROLL
Find a pretty park to walk in—it doesn’t have to be very large, as long as it’s located in an unpolluted area with lots of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Take your time—you don’t have to do any of those crazy aerobic brisk-walking moves. If you feel like taking a second turn around the park, go ahead. Take in the clean air and green surroundings and just keep a nice pace going until you’ve had enough.
BIKE TO NEARBY DESTINATIONS
Put your car keys down and prop up the kickstand on your bike instead. Cycling to destinations that you can get to in ten minutes or less not only saves the environment from noxious vehicular emissions but also gets your blood pumping through light exercise. You’ll feel great inside and out after even the briefest of bicycle rides.
EXPERIMENT IN YOUR GARDEN
Plant a tree, some fruit and vegetable seeds, or even a couple of low-maintenance flowers! Gardening is a wonderful way to get up close and personal with the environment—and squeeze in a little physical exertion at the same time. There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as watching the fruit of your labor grow and prosper—and who knows, you might have a hidden green thumb.
It’s summer, after all, so make the most of your beach trips! Don’t just lounge around in your cabana or commit yourself completely to your tan. Make time for a quick dip in the ocean and savor the delicious feeling of the cool waves against your skin. Remember to wear your goggles—you wouldn’t want the saltwater to sting your eyes as you do a lap or two.
To find out more on this study, read the full article on Reuters.com.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)