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Increase Your Mental Energy by Getting Physical Outdoors

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Outside Activity Clears the Mind.

Looking for a way to increase your energy, productivity, and focus?  Think outside …

Perhaps you or others you work with are reluctant to even get outside, let alone exercise. When it comes to getting outdoors for a walk, run or bike ride, how often have you heard—or made—these excuses? “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t take the time.” “I don’t want to get sweaty.” “It’s boring.” “I’m too tired. I’d rather take a nap.” Less than 20 percent of adults over 18 years of age met the federal government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity (that’s a quarter of adults in the US).

Proven Benefits for Work Productivity

It’s important to know that exercise and the outdoors offer proven benefits to work productivity. For example, a recent study found that workers who took breaks to stare at nature scenes improved their performance. So if you feel unproductive, perhaps the least you can do is look at photos of the great outdoors or gaze outside when taking a break. According to this research, you may improve your attention span and productivity when you return to work.

Outdoor Activities Have Multiple Benefits

Of course, there are other benefits of getting outdoor exercise. These include:

  • Extra energy and feelings of revitalization
  • Greater likelihood that exercise will become a habit
  • Higher vitamin D levels from increased exposure to sunlight
  • Better sleep at night
  • Less stress and an improved mindset
  • Enjoyable sights, smells and sounds
  • Increased opportunities for enticing coworkers, friends or family to join you.

As the weather warms, try to increase the amount of time you’re outside. And when you head outdoors, don’t forget to:

  • Apply sunscreen
  • Warm up before exercising
  • Keep hydrated
  • Take your ID and turned-off phone in case of emergencies.

Here are a few suggestions for adding outdoor exercise to your routine:

  • At lunch or during a break, get outside for a 15- to 20-minute walk.
  • When you come home from work and find lethargic kids using digital devices on the couch, rally the troops for a short walk. (These days, even children need encouragement to get outside. We can all take a cue from “Sesame Street: Outdoors with Jason Mraz”.
  • If you don’t have a dog, be nice and volunteer once or twice a week to walk a neighbor’s dog.

By being creative, you can reap the many benefits of the outdoors and exercise, including greater physical and mental energy and increased productivity.


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