The 18 months have certainly taught us to appreciate the great outdoors. Though sometimes it’s tempting to stay cosy indoors – especially if the weather’s miserable – you’ll never regret escaping for fresh air and a change of scene.
First Off, Make Sure you’re Prepared…
Before we convince you on the huge benefits of stepping outside, we must urge you to make sure you’re well prepared for your trip. If you’re off on a hike, choose sensible walking shoes. If it’s cold outside, wrap up warm in a thermal top and long, thick trousers. Take water, snacks and a change of clothes, just in case – there’s no such thing as being over-prepared!
Getting out and about isn’t just a nice thing to do to keep us busy, it’s actually proven to be good for our health. But how?
Improves Mood and Focus
Research has found that anxiety, depression and anger are reduced after time spent outdoors. Nature simply makes us happy and more relaxed. Not only that, but it improves our focus. Studies have shown that adults and children who may have difficulty controlling impulses are better able to concentrate after spending time outside.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Spending time amongst nature will lower your blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body – these are stress-related hormones.
Boosts your Energy
If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, don’t reach for the caffeine – get your shoes on and go outside instead. One study suggests that spending 20 minutes amongst the trees gives your brain an energy boost comparable to a cup of coffee.
Helps Us Heal
If you know anyone recovering from an illness or operation, try to urge them to get outdoors. Scientists believe that when you breathe in phytoncides – chemicals in the air produced by plants – it actually increases our levels of white blood cells. These are the cells that help us fight off infections and diseases.
Furthermore, researchers found that patients who spent more time outside while recovering needed fewer painkillers and had fewer complications – ultimately leading to a shorter stay in hospital.
The great outdoors is beneficial for all ages, but especially for those over 70. According to a study in the Journal of Ageing and Health, pensioners who spent more time amongst nature slept better, complained less about aches and pains and experienced improved mobility to those who were cooped up inside.
Increases Vitamin D Levels
When the sun hits your skin, it kicks off a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s essential for a well-functioning body. Studies suggest that it helps fight conditions from osteoporosis to cancer and even heart attacks.
Whether it’s a short walk, a run, rock climbing or bungee jumping, hopefully we’ve convinced you to get outdoors!