Stress can affect not only your fitness and wellness results, but also your health in general.
That’s because chronic stress can raise havoc with your body’s hormone levels, which can cause all kinds of problems from weight gain to high blood pressure, plus just generally make you feel miserable!
Now obviously some stress is to be expected during your day-to-day life, so the key is to manage it and keep it under control so it doesn’t get out of hand.
The good news is, if you pay a little attention to the warning signs, you can generally stop it from getting out of control before it’s too late.
There are some very simple things you can do to combat stress and keep it in check….
And that includes things like sitting outside and enjoying the day!
And if you feel like a slacker when you’re taking a break to relax outdoors, here’s a fun fact: it can actually make you more productive because it helps you clear your mind.
Plus, getting a change of scenery can also change your perspective, which can make you more creative and help you solve problems.
Lots of studies have shown that being outdoors around nature can help cut our body’s internal stress response. If you have ever felt relaxed after spending time outdoors, give me “heart.”
You don’t even have to DO anything for this to happen – in fact, it’s better for you if you DON’T do anything, and just let yourself soak up the peace around you.
In fact ne of the most recent studies showed that the de-stressing sweet spot for being outside was about 20-30 minutes.
Any longer and you don’t get much added benefit, and while shorter periods of time can definitely make you feel better, you probably won’t get the biggest drop in your cortisol levels, which is your body’s major stress hormone.
For most of us, 20 to 30 minutes is an achievable amount of time for at least three to four days each week. Oh… and try not to bring your phone or any tech with you!
Now, a lot of us are programmed to always be DOING something all of the time, so if the thought of just sitting around makes you feel antsy, I’ve put together a short list of things you can DO while you’re outside!
20 to 30 minutes is the perfect amount of time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea sitting on your porch if you have one, or eat your lunch in the park.
It’s also the amount of time it can take to go for an after-dinner walk, which will not only help you destress… but also helps your body digest your food even better, and keep your blood sugar levels more stable!
At work, instead of having a 1-on-1 sit-down meeting with someone, go for a walking meeting outdoors instead! And BONUS- this may even trigger creative solutions to work problems, since you’re out of your normal element.
Shaking things up a little bit is always a good idea to stir up creativity!
If you have a garden area where you live, you can work on developing your green thumb by growing herbs, veggies or flowers in your yard or community garden.
Now obviously all of that is easy when the weather’s nice. When it’s too HOT/COLD, you have to plan strategically and take advantage of the nicer days!
Taking a walk on a nice wintry day can still feel amazing, but you may want to start this habit during the Spring or Summer so you can acclimate your body as it begins to change to hotter/colder.
How simple is that, when it comes to improving your health? Just go outside and enjoy!
Does that sound doable to you?
Let's make some time to get outdoors today. Bonus if you are exercising while you are outside. Try going for a walk, or if you are in my local area of Brentwood, TN, check out my 45 minute outdoor fitness class for women 40+!
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