Embrace the outdoors: Simple ways to boost your wellness

As the temperature rises and the days lengthen, there's no better time to step outside and embrace the rejuvenating power of nature. With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, integrating outdoor activities into your daily routine can significantly enhance your overall wellness.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to appreciate what the outdoors has to offer:

Take a walk: Yes, this seems so simple! However, it is one of the easiest and most accessible outdoor activities available to us. Whether you decide to venture around the NEOMED loop or drive to a scenic trail for some new sights, walking will boost your physical health, reduce stress, and provide some mental clarity. My favorite thing to do while walking is to listen to an audiobook…you should try it out! Here are some nearby walking trails:

  1. The Portage Hike and Bike Trail
  2. Towner’s Woods Park
  3. Triangle Lake Bog State Nature Preserve
  4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Interact with animals: Spending time with animals can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional health. Whether you have pets of your own, have a friend’s pet that you can visit, or volunteer at an animal shelter for the summer, take the time to show them some love. The companionship of animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase feelings of happiness and contentment. Additionally, you can take time to visit animals in a unique setting, such as the ones listed below:

  1. Akron Zoo
  2. Pure Passions Farm
  3. Happy Trails Farm
  4. Humane Society of Summit County

Summer reading: Whether it's a novel, a memoir, or a non-fiction book, reading outdoors can enhance your relaxation and enjoyment of nature. Consider picking up a book from the library or your favorite bookstore and spending some time reading under a shady tree or by a scenic lake. It's a great way to unwind and enrich your mind while soaking in the beauty of the outdoors. See a list of suggested summer reads for 2024, spanning all genres.

— Submitted by Molly Oertel, a member of the University's Wellness Committee and a student in the Master of Health Leadership and Systems Science program, moertel@neomed.edu

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