Why getting outdoors is good for your health

wilsonsprom

By the time you are reading this newsletter, I am likely a few kilometres in to my 2 day, 57km trek. 

As many of you know, I love to hike and I make an effort to do this regularly. Why I hear you ask? Because it makes me feel 11 out of 10.

Personally, I find that there is nothing better than the feeling of being outdoors, away from smart-phones and emails, breathing in the crisp clean air, taking in the spectacular views and basking in the sun as it hits your skin and when it comes to backing up my claims with scientific data, it’s an easy task:

  • A 2010 study tested over 1,200 elderly adults. Those who had not engaged in outdoor recreation in the past year were the most prone to major depression. Those who spent time outside four or more times a week suffered the least depression. 
  • According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you’re likely to be.
  • Other studies by researchers in England and Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting with trees, foliage and landscape views, feel more restored, and less anxious, angry and depressed than those runners who burn the same amount of calories in gyms or other urban settings.
  • Walking also improves creativity: scientists tested creativity before and after walking on a treadmill. In 81% of the participants, creative output increased after walking, with the average subject increasing output by 60%. 
  • Spending time outdoors will also boost your intake of the all important Vitamin D. Vitamin D is used to balance our hormones, manage stress, promote the absorption of calcium and prevent osteoporosis. 
  • Having trouble sleeping? A few hours outdoors will also help to re-set your body’s internal body clock.  
  • Regular walking, as little as half an hour a day, can reduce cancer risk, improve cardiovascular health, moderate weight and prevent diabetes. In addition, walking improves blood oxygenation, circulation, and immune response, removes toxins, and relieves stress.

I could go on, but I think you’ve got the picture 🙂 

When you really stop and think about it, it makes a whole lot of sense. When we book holidays, those getaways that leave us feeling rejuvenated and re-charged are those by the beach, in the mountains, or in the vast open spaces of the natural environment. Ever spent a holiday in a big city and needed a holiday to recover from your holiday? Could it be the natural environment that re-charges our batteries, rather than the time away from work?

When was the last time you stepped outside? Have you ever tried surrounding yourself with fresh oxygen-rich air and beautiful scenery, rather than the smell of the gym and flatscreen TVs? Perhaps its time to invest in a little tree hugging, nature loving R&R 🙂

Picture: This is a shot of me the last Wilson’s Prom hike I did a few years back. Spectacular place, can’t wait to share some more pics of this year’s adventure!