UNC Health Care

Mental Health Benefits of Getting Outside

We all know that going out for a walk is good for our physical health, but it doesn’t stop there. Research shows that getting outside in nature has many mental health benefits as well.

Walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety and depression, and there is further evidence that walking in nature improves those results even further. That’s because different parts of our brain activate in nature. Our mind calms, leading to physical changes including a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.

But don’t think you have to hike a mountain to feel the results. Spending time outside at a park or any green space can have the same effect. Even if it’s only for a few minutes during a lunch break, getting out in nature can positively impact your mental health.

Watch the video to learn more from Nate Sowa, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the UNC School at Medicine. You can also find some of our favorite outdoor spots around the triangle using the map below.