Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic. And, if you’re reading this from anywhere in the northern U.S. or Canada, please forgive us. We feel for you and hope that you can stay inside by a warm fire with cocoa at the very least during this polar vortex episode!
After five years of freezing temperatures and snow storms in New Jersey, Matt and I decided to call Florida home. Just a week after settling in, we realized that this was probably the best decision we’ve made together! Matt goes on bike rides every day and I take the dogs for walks several times a week. Because we don’t live too far from the beach, taking walks in the sand and watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is a regular weekend activity. I knew the nicer weather was going to do us good, I just didn’t know it would make this much of a difference on our bodies and minds!
Tampa’s winter temperatures can reach an average of 72 degrees. This means that, while frequent snowstorms, freeze warnings, and plummeting temperatures are common up north, Tampanians get to live through a pleasant winter.
Of course, these temperatures also help residents stay active both physically and mentally. Not sure what the benefits are? Rice Psychology Group has the answers you need.
Reap the BenefitsResearch has shown that even a ten to 30-minute walk can result in healthy brain activity. Click To Tweet
Research has shown that even a ten to 30-minute walk can result in healthy brain activity. Other studies have found that a few days of hiking, with lack of contact with technology, has led to boosts of up to 50% in creativity.
According to research from the University of Michigan, time spent outside in enjoyable climates can also improve your memory and broaden your cognitive style. Matthew Keller, one of the study’s authors, revealed that being outside in pleasant weather can help us reset our minds.
“Everyone thinks weather affects mood, but the biggest tests of this theory…found no relationship,” he said. “So, we went back and found there are two important variables: how much time you spend outside and what the season is. If you go from winter to spring and spend enough time outside, there’s a noticeable change.”
Go Out and Play
In a previous blog, we discussed the effects of physical activity, which has been found to:
- Reduce the likelihood of depression
- Maintain good mental health as we age
- Assist with mild to moderate dementia and anxiety
Luckily for you, Tampa not only has the perfect winter weather to stay active, but plenty of options to do so as well! You can head out to one of the many bodies of water around our city for a day of fishing, enjoy a rewarding hike at Hillsborough River State Park, or go for a quick and entertaining walk at the Tampa Riverwalk.
Of course, that’s just the beginning! With activity-driven places such as Busch Gardens Tampa and countless museums around town, there really is no shortage of opportunities for movement that you, your body, and your mind can enjoy.
We’ve increased the number of “walk therapy” sessions at Rice Psychology Group for both kids and adults. For patients who are interested, we can do our talking on the move which gets brains and bodies working even more effectively than they do sitting on a couch.
Walking side-by-side (sometimes with our therapy dog, Milo!) makes it easier to get to the more difficult issues because it feels more natural, and direct eye contact sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable.
We’re Here for You at Rice Psychology Group
If you’re looking for ways to take advantage of our climate or to better understand what you’re going through, our Tampa psychologists are here to help. Rice Psychology Group is fully equipped to do that and more. Contact us today to get started on the path toward feeling better.