If you’re in the UK you may well be currently asking “Where is Spring?!” However even with grey skies and low temperatures there are still so many benefits (both mental and physical) to being outside in nature. Read on to find out exactly how spending time outside each day can do wonders for your health and wellbeing.
Firstly let’s look at the mental benefits of time with nature. The mental health charity Mind is a huge advocate of this. The charity states that spending time in green spaces or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit your mental wellbeing by improving your mood, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and improving confidence and self-esteem. Time outside can include getting stuck into some gardening, growing herbs and vegetables (which are SO rewarding!), walking, exercising outdoors and spending time with animals. All of these activities have been proven to support strong positive correlations with improved mental health and wellness.
Now let’s talk about the physical benefits that mother nature can bring to you. Firstly, and it’s topical if you caught last week’s blog, it’s improved sleep. Exposure to fresh air and sunlight can improve your sleep quality by helping your circadian rhythm and helping you feel more tired at bedtime as well as shortening the time it takes you to fall asleep.
Immune function is boosted with time spent outside. Micro-organisms which are found in nature can help prepare your immune system for more serious illnesses, meaning your body can fight infections more efficiently.
Believe it or not, being outside can increase your motivation for exercise. When we are outside we move more, we take more steps and breathe more deeply. This releases endorphins and makes us feel good, which in turn makes us more inclined to do it again and again.
Another huge health benefit of being outdoors is lower blood pressure and heart rate. Studies have shown that just a 30 minute dose of nature can lower your pulse and blood pressure which as we know has far reaching benefits for your body.
So time in the fresh air really does do wonders for both mental and physical health. I cannot recommend highly enough carving out just 30 minutes of your day to walk, garden, run, cycle or even wild swim to reap the benefits that time outside brings. Even in this cold spell that we are currently experiencing!
Those who have followed me for a while will know that I am a daily dog walker – even if I am having a particularly manic, stressful day I always come back feeling more positive and ready to tackle whatever comes next following a trot around the fields. I know it can be harder to do when the weather is unpleasant and the days are short but trust me, it is so worth it!
It won’t be long before I can take my classes outside too!