Healthy Tahoe: 4 benefits of getting outside

Ryan Carr

Spending time in nature offers major advantages for both your body and mind. Make an effort to spend a little more time outside and you may notice some of these benefits. 

At the trailhead: Set your intention

  1. Happier mood. After visiting a large, natural wooded area, participants in one study had lower stress levels, reported fewer worries, and felt happier. Spending two or more hours outside each week has also been associated with feeling healthier and increasing well-being. 
  2. Healthier mind. Researchers found that when adults with health problems — such as high blood pressure, cancer, or mental health issues — participated in forest therapy, they felt less depressed. Forest therapy includes activities like observing, walking through, and meditating in the forest.  
  3. Stronger heart. Studies show that spending time in nature is associated with lower heart rate and diastolic blood pressure, improved high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of dying from heart-related causes.
  4. Better workout inspiration. The more time you spend outside in your backyard and neighborhood, the more likely you may be to exercise. One possible explanation? Spending time in nature may motivate people to get active, researchers suggest. 

At the summit: Celebrate success.

Ryan Carr, EdD, MA, CSCS, CMPC, SCCC, is the performance supervisor and a certified mental performance coach at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. Ryan will give a talk, “Get In Trail Shape,” from 6-7 p.m., June 15, at the Center for Orthopedics and Wellness. In partnership with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, this free event brings together performance and outdoor experts to prepare participants for a great season on Tahoe’s trails. Register at To learn more about services at the Center that can help your performance, visit

Ryan Carr

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