Going outdoors

Why Should We Go Outside More?

Life can get busy. There’s so much to fit in to our everyday. And now we have to prioritise time in nature? But why should we go outside?

Without realising it, we can get pulled inside more and more. With work, the commute, family time inside, meals inside, socialising inside. And before you know it, you have made it to the weekend…but you haven’t made it outside.

But we were born for more than this. More than deadlines, conferences and commutes. More than walls, doors and windows. We are meant to be out there, out in it! Feeling the wind on our faces, the sun, or rain, on our skin. We’re meant to breath in the fresh air of nature, not the smoggy air of congestion.

Now, you may be one of the lucky ones, who work outside, so you’ve got it covered already. But take time out to relax and enjoy the great outdoors too, stop and smell the roses, literally! Or the pine…..ah, the sweet smell of pine.

But there’s more to it than “we just should.” On both a physical and mental wellness level we NEED to get outside. Being outside is an integral part of our health and well-being. 

Time in nature can calm a busy mind, sooth a frazzled brain and mend a broken soul. Whether it’s the soothing sounds of nature, the fresh clear air, the feeling of space around you or the relaxing time sleeping outdoors….or maybe all of those factors. But many are thankfully discovering the therapeutic aspects of nature. 

Through time outside many who have battled their heads, or struggled to calm their minds and sleep have found the answer, the key to stepping forward in their own recovery. And the answer? Yep, time outside. Whether it’s gentle movement through the woods, physical exertion in to the mountains or the calm of resting next to a river, find what helps you.

And if you are someone who hasn’t struggled mentally? Then you still should take care of yourself. You should still be seeking the calming solitude of nature, just to give your mind a rest from the rush of the every day. Take time out, literally. You might be more stressed than you realised.

Your physical health benefits from time outside too, not just from the obvious ways of breathing in the cleaner air and moving around more, but from some more subtle ways too. 

Much of our day can be sat looking at a screen, a screen that is the same distance away, day after day. When you are outside you are resting your eyes from the constant artificial strain of modern life. You will be looking further away in to the distance, fully using your long distance vision. But studying nature close up too. These are more natural patterns of eye movement and all far more calming and beneficial than the artificial environments our eyes usually have to deal with.

And similarly much of what we listen to in our every day life can be artificial too. Non stop noise. Traffic, alarms, phones, announcements, tv’s….it can be constant. It can be draining. But time outside isn’t draining, the sounds are restorative. The wildlife, the weather, the gentle rustle of the leaves. All natural sounds, calming your mind and giving your brain a rest from artificial stimulus, time to recharge and reset.

These calming effects have a greater benefit to our physical health too, with reduced blood pressure from the reduction of stress levels. Slower, deeper breathing that comes with that sense of relaxation aiding your respiratory health.

And then there’s the movement. When we’re outside we are likely to be moving around more, but also we move in more varied and natural patterns of movement too. A large portion of the population can spend much of their day sat, whether that’s driving or in an office, or similar setting, but this is detrimental to our physical health. Stepping over fallen trees, jumping ditches, scrambling up or down slopes uses our body in more natural patterns and varies muscle groups used. These more natural movements also help improve our balance and co-ordination too, something we need to work on and practice at all stages of our lives. 

To be honest, the list could be endless. And realistically, if we just stop and listen to our bodies, listen to our minds, then we know it already. It’s intuitive. We should be outside more. So find a way to build it in to your day, your week, your month. You need to be outside. 

So whether it’s a local walk, a hike, overnight in the woods, exploring further afield or an expedition. You owe it to yourself. Get outside more.  

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