My Q Health | Outdoor Activities Can Improve Your Mental Health
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Outdoor Activities Can Improve Your Mental Health

Outdoor Activities Can Improve Your Mental Health

By Rick Nauert PhD

For many, summer vacation is associated with getting out of a rut and enjoying the great American outdoors. New research among veterans now suggests outdoor group recreation can improve the mental health of our soldiers.

University of Michigan researchers believe participation in extended outdoor activities improves long-term psychological well-being.

Veterans were surveyed before and after a multi-day wilderness recreation experience, which involved camping and hiking in groups of between six and 12 participants.

More than half of participants reported that they frequently experienced physical or mental health problems in everyday life.

One week after the experience, veterans reported a greater than 10 percent improvement in several measures of psychological well-being, a 9 percent increase in social functioning, and a nearly 8 percent gain in positive life outlook.

In some cases, the results persisted over the next month.

“The findings suggest that extended group-based nature recreation can have significant positive impacts on veterans struggling with serious health problems,” said Jason Duvall, Ph.D., one of the study’s lead authors.

To read full article, visit Psych Central.



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