Whether you head outside for your job, your hobby or simply to explore, you’re sure to have noticed how much better being outdoors can make you feel. Feeling the wind on your face, the sound of the rain or the warmth of the sun on your back, being outdoors makes you feel truly alive, but why?
Multi-tasking modern lives
In our increasingly busy lives, with many of us being pulled between the demands of our work and home life, we can all be guilty of neglecting our physical and mental health. Multitasking, particularly with electrical devices, is one of the leading causes of stress in the western world. People who are constantly ‘connected’ and able to receive calls, emails, messages and social media updates have been found to have higher levels of physical and mental stress, so taking a break is essential. The longer the break from being so ‘connected’ the better the health benefits. So taking an ‘off-grid’ break to become connected with nature rather than wifi will do wonders for your health as well as allowing your body and mind to fully recharge.
Nature can lower blood pressure
Why does time in nature actually make us feel so much better though? There is strong scientific evidence showing that time in nature helps to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies. If your body is under constant stress for prolonged periods of time this can be damaging to your general health, your mental state and will limit your ability to lead a full and active life. A reduction in stress helps to reduce our blood pressure which reduces the pressure on all of your vital organs. It also helps to boost our mood as well as improving memory and concentration. Other studies have shown time in nature helps to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. These are significant findings being as at least half of us will suffer from these health challenges in our lifetime.
Being outside makes us move more too, and movement is essential for good health. It doesn’t need to be a rigid exercise plan to get the physical benefits. Those of us who are active outside will have increased functional fitness and strength. This is because we will be more inclined to move in a way that nature intended rather than just making repetitive movements. Even walking outside on undulating ground where your body has to balance itself and engage the muscles needed for good posture and balance is far better than walking on level flooring inside.
Spend time in natural light
Daily life can pull us into unhealthy habits without even realising. Many of us are guilty of spending too long staring at a screen during our daily life. This exposure to blue light from screens can have a detrimental effect on our sleep patterns, and let’s face it, a good night’s sleep is the backbone of good health. Not to worry though as this can be easily dealt with. Reducing screen time and increasing time in natural light will mean that your body’s natural sleep patterns are reprogrammed in no time. This will lead to a relaxed and natural sleep pattern which your body will thank you for.
Enjoy the silence
Finally, and possibly my favourite reason for spending time outdoors is the noise, or lack of it. Every day life can be constantly noisy which adds to increasing stress levels. Time out in the quietness of nature will help to calm your mind, recharge and get the most out of life. What’s more, time in nature is found to be so beneficial that Drs in many countries are now prescribing time in nature, or forest bathing as it’s often called. So if you needed another reason to close your laptop and put your boots on, your health is probably the best excuse yet. So what are you waiting for, get out there and explore the great outdoors. Trust me, your body will thank you for it.
Five ways nature can improve your health
- Nature can reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies.
- Time in nature can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- We move more when we are outside, leading to improved fitness.
- The natural light of the outdoors helps us to improve our sleep patterns.
- Being outside reduces the noise, and therefore stress levels, in our lives.