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Get outdoors and reap the free benefits!

By LiveWell Community

Now more than ever, humans are understanding the importance of spending time outside. While it has been scientifically proven that being out in nature is great for the mind and the body, many are starting to notice the benefits first-hand for themselves. However, if you’re still not sure, don’t worry. I have listed the five physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors below and some tips to get
outside for some adventures!

1. Exercise your mind, and relax

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or holding onto negative feelings, spending time outdoors is a simple, yet effective, mood booster. Let’s call this ecotherapy, getting out in nature takes us back to basics and to our beginnings. So use walking as a mindful exercise, if you can switch off your phone. Take in your surroundings; the sights and smells along the way– this will help to distract you from the negative feelings you may be experiencing and will help you stay present.

Another one of the health benefits of being outdoors is being exposed to natural light. Not only will this make you happier, but it will also improve your sleep and general wellbeing.

2. Exercise your body and feel better

We have just discussed the mental health benefits of being outdoors, but what about the physical? Even something as simple as strolling around the park or exploring some woodland is a great form of exercise and moving your body. While it’s easy to think that you need to be in a gym for exercise success, that’s definitely not the case.

3. Boost your immune system

Another one of the physical benefits of spending time outdoors, is its immune boosting qualities. It is believed by scientists that breathing in the chemicals produced by plants increases the level of white blood cells in our bodies, and therefore helps us to fight viruses and infections. Natural sunlight will also expose you to higher levels of vitamin D, which supports the immune system, bones and blood cells.

4. Improve your focus

Morning walks will help anchor your circadian rhythm, making you feel more energised and ready for the day and more ‘switched on’. It’s said that the ‘greenness’ of our surroundings can help restore focus. Stuck on a task or drowning in a to do list and don’t know where to start Something as simple as a five or ten minute walk can help you to concentrate on the task ahead.

5. Make it fun and social

Finally, there are lots of benefits of solo exploring. However, spending time outdoors allows us to reconnect with our friends and family in a natural, easy way. Whenever I am out running or walking, like minded people always greet you. This sort of behaviour doesn’t usually happen when we’re rushing about our business. One of the great benefits of outdoor activities like this is the chance to restore a sense of community and friendship – with people we know or friendly strangers.

Make it a fun ritual for your family or with your friends, it can be a big adventure, combine a picnic or treasure hunt to make it a fun occasion!

Weekend walk tips:⠀
● Explore somewhere new ⠀
● Put your phone on airplane mode so you can still take photos but be away from notifications
● Pack a picnic ⠀
● Take a flask of coffee (and some cheeky biscuits!)
● Add a hill climb into your walk⠀
● Play a quiz round ⠀
● Play eye spy ⠀
● Do the fun things you used to do in your childhood!⠀

For Parents with babies:
● Take a sling instead of the pram as they’re more comfortable and give you more scope with terrain. I recommend the Ergo Baby 360 for under 1 or the Ospreys Poco Plus for toddlers.
● Take a decent rucksack and add: changing mat, few nappies, nappy bags, small pack of
wipes, muzzy/blanket!
● Expressed milk/formula bottle on hand ⠀
● Change of clothes ⠀
● Soother ⠀
● Be prepared for the weather, sun-hats or hats, mittens etc⠀

Written by Amy Gomer @amyrosannaruns 

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