Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. 8 Outdoor Activities to Enjoy the Healing Power of Nature


    Fresh air. Warm sunshine. Green leaves. Birds twirping happily. The sound of dirt crunching beneath your feet. There’s something uniquely restorative about spending time in nature — a fact backed by science.

    A host of research published in the National Library of Medicine shows being in nature:

    • Boosts mental health and cognitive function
    • Reduces stress and perceived ability to deal with stress
    • Improvement in depressed psychological states
    • Stimulates brain activity
    • Lowers risk of developing psychological disorders
    • Positively correlates with lower obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates
    • Increases sleep quality and duration

    Activities in nature are also a boon for your physical health, typically requiring movement and exercise, which can improve your cardiovascular and muscular health.

    With that in mind, we rounded up eight outdoor activities to boost the time you spend in nature — things like hiking and biking for those who are mobile to gardening and boating for those who need to go the lower-impact route.



    1) Hiking

    Hiking is a definite go-to for getting out in nature — and for good reason! Not only is it an excellent full-body workout, but it’s also one of the best ways to explore new settings and take nature in on every level. It’s also an activity perfect for groups and families, offering options for people of all fitness levels. With more than 400 national parks across the U.S., you can enjoy a unique experience with nature year-round.

    2) Cycling

    Find any nearby trail on a warm spring or summer day, and there’s a good chance you’ll find bicyclists of all levels out enjoying it. Cycling is the perfect activity for covering lots of ground with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face to make it all the more pleasant. You can go as fast or slow as you want and see all the incredible things nature has to offer along the way.

    3) Rock Climbing

    Rock climbing outdoors is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re game to give it a try, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Rock climbing offers a tremendous workout and a truly exhilarating way to enjoy nature, with challenging courses and one-of-a-kind views waiting for you at every turn. It also can help with cognitive health by fostering problem-solving skills, and it typically has a tight-knit community for increased social interaction.

    4) River Activities

    If you’re a fan of water sports, get out on the nearest river with a water activity like kayaking, canoeing, or white water rafting. Each of these will engage your core and offer a strenuous workout, making them ideal for exercise and taking in nature alike. Rivers also provide a unique view of the world around you, carving through canyons or flowing alongside rows and rows of trees for truly breathtaking sights you won’t find anywhere else.



    5) Gardening

    Planting seeds for flowers or fruits and vegetables and helping them sprout leaves and grow into something new is itself profoundly rewarding. Add in the time spent outside in the sunshine and the functional movement that goes with it, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious mental health boosts. Plus, tending to your plants can provide a significant stress reliever after a busy day, and growing and eating your own fruits and vegetables can even improve your diet.

    6) Scenic Walking

    Walking is one of those simple things that you can do anywhere and at any pace, making it a perfect go-to for everyone to get outside to take in some fresh air. You can go on scenic, nature-friendly walks at the local park, around your neighborhood, along green belts, or even at national and state parks. Go at your own pace and breathe all of nature’s beauty in along the way.

    7) Beach Day

    If you live near a beach, a day outside soaking in the sun and listening to the waves lap against the shore is a definite recipe for a mental wellness boost. Pack a picnic lunch and grab your towel and flip-flops for a relaxing day on the sand. If you’re feeling up for it, consider rolling in a fun activity like shell-hunting or kite-flying.

    8) Fishing

    Fishing is one of the best activities for stress relief. It gives you a peaceful way to explore nature in all sorts of different ways and places while simultaneously requiring physical activity that improves health. Plus, people who fish also tend to find their patience and concentration improve and that it lowers stress levels.


    The sky is the limit when it comes to finding ways to get outside and enjoy nature. Try one of these fun activities or develop your own — all that matters is that you get outside and do it!




    Author: Caitlin H
    Diet-to-Go Community Manager

    Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.


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