You’ll sleep better, your blood pressure will be lower, your stress levels will tumble to rock bottom levels. Your psychological health will definitely reap the rewards. These are just four scientifically proven benefits of spending more time outside immersed in nature and everything it has to offer.
How Can You Spend More TIme Outside?
The theory is all well and good. But how can you actually get outside more? What could you be getting up to? We took a look at what experts are suggesting…
1) Ditch the gym (sort of!)
The gym is a wonderful place to get and stay physically fit. An hour spent at the gym three times a week is a fantastic way to improve our overall health, including our emotional well-being. It is certainly not be knocked or to be cast by the wayside completely.
Scientists say that there is no compensation for exercising out in the fresh air. So, what do they suggest?
- A brisk walk
There is a lot of research that suggests our emotional well-being is significantly boosted and improved when we take a walk. Why not swap half an hour running on the treadmill at the gym with a half hour walk in the local park? Even walking briskly through your local town or city can be a great way of upping the heartbeat and staying in shape.
Even walking in the rain is good for you. Just take a brolly and do a few laps of the park!
- Take your workout outdoors
Many of us run or jog outdoors but not many of us take our full workout outdoors. This is a great way to up the endorphins to feel good about ourselves. It is also a great way of ramping up your routine, stopping it from becoming boring.
With spring on the doorstep, there has never been a better time to get outside. Whether that is for a walk in the park or to do your workout on the beach. Why not consider ditching a gym session for an outdoor exercise session during the spring and summer?
2) Make exercise a part of your schedule
The problem with trying something new for many of us is that we don’t necessarily value it as highly as we should. In other words, when something else comes along we just push it to the side. Surely, you think, taking a half hour walk in the woods is not as important as a dental appointment/ shopping/ picking up the dry cleaning…?
But it is, and it has to be. And so that means making time to enjoy the great outdoors and sticking to this ‘schedule’. The reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail is that we fail to make them a habit.
No matter what time of year you decide to get out in the open air more, you need to give it value and making it an important part of your day or week.
3) Dine al fresco
The beauty of nature and the garden is that it is a versatile space. It can be the place to relax, much like your living room, it can be an outdoor exercise area, much like the gym, and it can also be a place to eat, just like a dining room.
Eating outside is a great way to increase your intake of fresh air and much-needed vitamin D from the sun’s rays;
- Lunch in the park – only got half an hour for lunch? Not a problem! Enjoy the green space around where you work (if you have any!) by enjoying your lunch or breaks outside.
- Dine in the garden – just sitting huddled on a garden bench or enjoying a full three-course meal sat at your outdoor dining set is enough to help lower your blood pressure and increase relaxing endorphins.
- Picnic on the beach or in the country – remember those adventures when you were a child? Pack a rug or an old tablecloth, a few sandwiches and your flask, and away you go. Enjoy a day at the seaside or a pleasant ramble in the countryside, complete with delicious picnic. Make it last all day or just an hour or two - either way, the effects are soothing!
4) Take a friend
When it comes to trying something new, there is no doubt that doing it with company makes it less arduous. From working out in the outdoors to enjoying a picnic, grabbing a friend or dragging your family along is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
Arranging to meet up with friends is also a great way of making sure that you value the time you have outdoors too. If you can’t find a willing participant – and we think that is unlikely – why not consider joining something like a local walking club?
5) Start in the garden…
Most of us have some kind of outdoor space, whether that is acres of manicured, landscaped garden or a bijou backyard, or even a small balcony. The good news that no matter how big or small, how landscaped (or not) your outdoor space or garden is, it is a great place to start.
From lounging on Luyten's garden benches for example, with a chilled glass of wine or a pleasant cup of coffee, nature is around you – it might that we have simply forgotten to look for it.
You can, of course, encourage nature to ‘come back’. A bird feeder attracts garden birds into your garden and they are a joy to watch. You’ll be amazed at just how many different varieties you get visiting.
For larger gardens, you can add bug hotels too. These are ‘piles’ of tubular sticks, such as hollow bamboo, strung together to create a safe nesting spot for ‘good’ bugs such as ladybirds. You don’t need to use fancy equipment, as bug hotels can be made using materials that you have lying around.
Being outdoors is a great way to bolster your health, physical and psychological. Do you spend much time outdoors?