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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / April 2017 / Spring Fever

Spring Fever

By: Susan Miller

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, you may find yourself getting drawn outdoors more and more. The good news is that spending time outdoors has been shown to improve mental health, physical wellbeing and overall life satisfaction. Being in nature can reduce levels of stress hormones, and has been shown to have a positive impact on emotions such as anger, sadness, and tension.

Here are a few outdoor activities you may enjoy:

  • Walking to and from your car: The first five minutes of outdoor activity has the greatest impact on mood and self-esteem. Even a few minute walk from your parking spot to work can improve your wellbeing, and it’s a good way to get some quick exercise in. Take advantage of UR programs like Park & Stride or Walk with a Doc.
  • Eat your lunch outside: Lunch break is an opportune time to step outside. After an outdoor lunch, you may find that it is easier to concentrate on your work, that you can think more flexibly, and that you have more energy.
  • Walk and talk: Meetings can provide a creative opportunity to get outside and to incorporate movement and fresh air into your daily routine.
  • Go for a bike ride: Rochester has a good number of biking trails that are a lot of fun to explore, such as the Genesee Riverway Trail. This trail is 24 miles long and runs through many scenic areas. Biking to work is also a great option during the warmer months.
  • Enjoy the local park or cemetery: Go for a walk or run in a local park or cemetery rather than an indoor gym. People tend to walk faster outside than inside; however, they report lower levels of perceived exertion. Also, outdoor exercise can help you get enough sunlight and Vitamin D after a long winter.
  • Start a garden: Not only will gardening get you outside, but it allows you to grow your own healthy fruits and vegetables. Working with plants can also be calming and beneficial to your wellness.
  • Bird watch: There are plenty of birding hotspots in Rochester, especially around this time of year. Head to your local park or to your own backyard to take part in this fun activity.

Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, providing eligible individuals with mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression.


Gladwell, V. F., Browm, D. K., Wood, C., Sandercock, G. A., & Barton, J. L. (2013, January 03). The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Retrieved from

Bowler, D. E., Buyung-Ali, L. M., Knight, T. M., & Pulin, A. S. (2010, August 04). A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. Retrieved from

Pamela Fattore | 4/7/2017

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