James Hamblin, MD, visits San Francisco to talk to two people who provide “ecotherapy,” which emphasizes using time in natural settings to enhance the value of the therapy experience. Fortunately, you don’t need a therapist to benefit from by spending time in a park.
Being outdoors has lots of benefits — from helping you make vitamin D to lifting your mood in general. People with seasonal affective disorder, for example, may find that mild symptoms are relieved by making sure they spend time outside (although more severe symptoms may require a specially designed lightbox, used indoors). If you exercise outdoors, you may even get a better workout out of it.
The mild weather of San Francisco makes it easy to spend time outdoors all year round, but colder climates just require a little more thought about clothing. You may not want to get sweaty in running togs — and risk some serious chilling at some point on your run — but a brisk walk is easy to dress for in almost any weather.