Ditch the drugs: "Depression proof" yourself with the Outdoor Cure

I'm always surprised at all the people hoodwinked into shelling out big money to join a gym.

Who needs a gym? We've already been given everything we need for regular movement: a pair of legs and God's green earth.

And you don't even have to break a sweat to enjoy the benefits.

In fact, a leisurely stroll in the woods with friends is actually one of the best things you could do for your mental health.

One new study of nearly 2,000 people finds walks outside will make it easier for you to handle life's most stressful moments and less likely to suffer from depression than folks who keep cooped up indoors.

Now, it's one thing to keep a happy person happy. It's not too difficult, right? They're by definition already happy.

But this study didn't just look at happy people. It also included people battling some of life's biggest stresses -- the kinds of things, such as loss, that often spiral into depression.

And it found that walking outdoors actually packs the biggest benefits for those facing those biggest forms of stress.

Yes, the very folks who need a lift most.

Believe it or not, this gets even better, because the study in the journal Ecopsychology also finds that people feel happier when they're out walking.

That's critical, because when mood-boosting drugs work (if they work at all, and that's not a given) they simply make people feel less sad. But feeling happier? There's not a pill in the world able to pull that off.

But a simple walk can.

Don't wait for depression to sink in before you take up a walking habit. Start today and you could help ensure that you never become depressed in the first place.

It's also a terrific way to keep moving -- and as we all know, daily regular movement is as essential to good physical health as it is to your mental health.