Compared to previous generations, most people now spend the majority of their time indoors. The May 2020 People and Nature Survey found that 85% of people in the UK agreed that being in nature makes them happy, however, only 60% had spent time in a green or natural space in the previous two weeks. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of spending time outside and some practical tips to make it easier to get outdoors more often.
What are the benefits of spending more time outdoors?
Spending time outdoors has lots of great benefits for our health and wellbeing.
It improves fitness
As a result of spending increasing amounts of time indoors, often sitting at a desk, many of us lead very sedentary lifestyles. Going for a walk is a free and easy way to combat this, and is suitable for anyone at any fitness level. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and off you go!
It has health benefits
Even a brisk walk of just ten minutes has multiple health benefits and can improve your overall fitness. Walking can lower blood pressure, boost your immune system and reduce your risk of some serious health conditions. In fact, studies have shown that walking for 30 minutes per day, five days per week could reduce your risk of Coronary Heart Disease by up to 19%.
It improves mood
Spending time outdoors is a great mood-booster too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, getting outside can help you to reset, gain some perspective and feel more positive. Spending time outside is also beneficial to those living with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
It aids healing
A groundbreaking study by an environmental psychologist, Roger Ulrich back in 1984, found that spending time outside when recovering from surgery actually helped patients to heal faster. He also found that even when patients were unable to get outdoors, even looking at nature through a window aided their recovery and healing, showing how truly remarkable nature is to the human mind and body.
Practical tips to help you spend more time outdoors
If you’re ready to get out more, here are some simple tips that will increase the amount of time you spend outdoors on a day-to-day basis.
Go for a daily walk
One easy way to ensure you get outside every single day is to build a daily walk into your routine. It doesn’t have to be a long ramble through the countryside (unless you want it to be!) even a quick stroll around your local park will have lots of great benefits.
Get a dog
If you’re naturally an indoorsy person then getting a dog is one way to change that! Getting a dog is a serious commitment but if you have the time, space and love a dog needs then it’s a great way to improve your overall health and fitness and will certainly mean that you stay active and spend more time outside.
Use your garden
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden then make sure you’re using it to its full advantage. If it’s currently looking a bit worse for wear then tidying it up is a good reason to get outside. Pull up weeds, plant some colourful flowers and add a few solar lights to make it somewhere you want to spend time. Then you can get outside in your garden to read, work, socialise or just relax in nature.
Ditch the gym
Exercise is great but if you go straight from the office to the gym in your car and then back home again, you’re really limiting the amount of time you’re spending outdoors. Why not try an outdoor sport instead as a way to keep fit and spend time outside? You could try hiking, climbing, surfing, sailing, cycling, skateboarding, horse riding or wild swimming plus many many more!
Use your commute
If you currently commute to work, why not leave the car at home and take the opportunity to spend more time outside by cycling or walking to work? If you don’t currently have a bike, see if your employer has a cycle-to-work scheme you could take advantage of. Riding a bike or walking to work each day will improve your health and fitness, save you money on fuel and allow you to spend more time outdoors at the same time!