Let’s Go Outside
I feel like I’m one of those animals who tends to come out in the spring and summer and hibernates in the winter months. I love this time of year and try to get outside as much as possible.
But did you know that getting outside in nature can actually improve your health and happiness?
- I’ve written before about the immunity boosting properties of Vitamin D. As sunshine is a natural source of Vitamin D it’s important to get outside and soak it up.
- Being in a natural setting can increase your quality of sleep (which is super important for good health). Studies show that natural sunlight helps set the body’s internal clock that tells us when to eat and sleep and normalises hormonal functions that occur at specific times of day. I just recently heard of a study of chronic insomniacs who were cured after camping out for two weeks (away from electronics etc). Being out in nature reset their systems.
- ‘Grounding’ or ‘Earthing’ (when our bodies come into contact with the Earth via walking barefoot or gardening) can balance out the positive electrons (in the form of free radicals) that can build up in our bodies due to high prevalence of mobile phone waves, WiFi etc.
- Research has even shown that hospital patients can recover faster when they can see trees or flowers from their window!
- Being outside can actually offer relief for everything from depression to negativity. A study from the University of Michigan linked group nature walks to enhanced mental health and positivity, along with lowering feelings of stress and depression.
- A study published in Psychological Science said that interacting with nature gives your brain a break from everyday overstimulation (monkey brain anyone?) and can restore attention levels and therefore concentration.
- When it comes to exercising, studies show that doing activities/exercises outdoors makes you happier than doing those same exact activities indoors.
- Getting fresh air, soaking up Vitamin D and the endorphins from getting active outside all contribute to healthy glowing skin.
8 TIPS TO GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF NATURE
Go For A Walk
Go for a walk every day whether it’s before or after your day at work or during your lunch break. I’m lucky as I live near the mountains, the sea and numerous parks so I’m spoilt for choice of where to walk. I love meeting friends for a catch up and an evening stroll. Not only am I getting the benefits of exercise and being outside but I’m also gaining from the social interaction which increases happiness. The photo above is from one of my favourite hikes along the cliff walk of Howth Head. A great workout and stunning views.
Walk on the Grass
Take off your shoes and get the benefits of grounding!!! Walk on the grass or walk in the sand or in the sea. My Dad used to always talk about the benefits of paddling in the sea. He knew what he was talking about!
Dine al fresco
I love eating outdoors – whether it’s a BBQ with family and friends, sitting outside a café drinking a matcha latte, eating my lunch in the local park or on our patio or going on a picnic.
Check out outdoor events
Whether it’s a weekly farmers market, an outdoor concert or play, open air cinema or a festival – there are usually loads of outdoor events (many of which are free) happening. It’s good to take a break from the TV and computer screens!
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Know of a park you’ve never been to, a beach you’ve never walked? Why not make a day trip to see what your city / area has to offer? Rent some bikes and go exploring neighbourhoods you might not know. You never know what you might discover!
Normally run inside on a treadmill or do a gym class? Why not try taking it outside? Find some good running/cycle trails or some outdoor boot camp classes to change things up. I’m keen to try some outdoor yoga this summer. I also want to make a habit of going on hikes at the weekend and may even try a game of tennis or two (always feel inspired after Wimbledon)! The gym is always there to go back to!
From planting a few flowers to growing a vegetable garden, gardening gets you outside and communing with nature. I’ve only a small patio but I love tending to my flower pots and organic leafy greens and herbs. Not only does it brighten up the place but seeing the garden grow and flower gives the added sense of accomplishment (yay! I didn’t kill them!). I can’t wait until I can serve up a salad fresh from my little patio garden.
Just sit and chill
We’re always so on-the-go. Sometimes we just need to sit outside quietly and appreciate the natural beauty around us away from emails, phones and social media. Better yet if we engage all our senses so we are in the present moment. Notice the sounds, the breeze or heat of the sun on your face, the feel of the grass or the sand …. you get the idea!!
What’s your favourite way to spend time outside? Do you notice the benefits? I’d love to hear some other suggestions to get me outside more!