An obvious YES is the answer to the title question! And before anyone gets offended by my title, let me explain. It was clear from the beginning that the general purpose of OutdoorMindset would be to focus on connecting like-minded people with a passion for living big, overcoming obstacles, and being active outside. During some of the early stages of development it was brought to our attention by our non-profit gurus (Jake and Jeanie) that just because we felt strongly about our vision and the purpose of OutdoorMindset, the government was going to need some proof that OM would help. In other words, we had to define our “Need”.
This has been a very important aspect of our development and we have all worked really hard to back up our vision with scholarly research. We broke down the research into 3 important aspects of OM -physical activity, social connections, and Internet use. As you can imagine there is a plethora of information and research out there on these topics, so as we narrow down our findings, I’ll keep the information coming.
To no surprise at all, we were able to find support in the articles that physical activity is beneficial to health. To take that common known fact further we dug a little deeper. Research studies have also found that people who engage in physical activity are more likely to have hopeful feelings about their future and reach goals they have set. Studies have also found that physical activity not only improved physical health but also improved mental health shown by a more positive attitude and confidence in oneself.
In another study the effects of Green exercise were evaluated. That study defines green exercise as any activity done in the presence of nature. Green exercise improves self-esteem and mood, as well as increases positive long-term and short-term health benefits. Green exercise is exactly what OM is all about!
Many studies have found that participants who engage in exercise on a regular basis have a higher health related quality of life and show a slower decline in general quality of life. In relation to mental health, it has been shown over and over again that exercise and physical activity are related to lower levels of depression. Engaging in physical activity increases the amount of neurotransmitters, monoamines and endorphins, i.e. dopamine and serotonin, being released from the brain. These neurotransmitters are related to positive feelings and the pleasure senses of our brain, thus increasing positive mental health.
As you can see from our research findings, there is definitely a positive relationship between physical activity and both physical and mental health. Being active is a main focus of OutdoorMindset so we are thrilled to have the information to back us up in that area. Being a research nerd who gets excited about reading small black and white print, I am beyond ecstatic from our outcomes thus far and I can’t wait to explore the other topics. More good news to come!