During the time that we’ve been confined to our homes, I think we’ve realised that spending more time in nature is essential to our well-being. When the restrictions started lifting ever so slightly last year, the first thing Ryan and I did was head out to Dinokeng nature reserve for a day trip just for a change of scenery and to fully submerge ourselves in nature. There is something about seeing a natural environment doing what it does when humans aren’t around that quiets the soul. We might begin to ask ourselves why it’s important to spend more time outdoors and when we truly analyse the benefits, it only encourages us to get outside.
LIVING AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Spending more time outdoors can take so many shapes and forms. Whether you go walking around your neighbourhood, go cycling or do a hiking trail, you’re adding steps to your day. Think of the time you spend in your office chair. That adds up really quickly and being immobile for most of the day leads to all sorts of issues. By heading outdoors, you’re much more inclined to get fitter, live healthier and be more active and this is critical to living a healthy lifestyle.
MORE VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is a miracle vitamin that our bodies need to regulate the amount of calium and phosphate we have in our bodies. This vitamin keeps our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. The best way to ensure your body has enough vitamin D is by spending time in the sunshine. Isn’t that incredible? By heading outdoors we are actually providing our bodies with the nutrient it needs to keep it at its healthiest levels. I’m a huge advocate of sunscreen so definitely don’t forget your SPF50 sunscreen, but when sunshine is a vitamin, it had best be enjoyed!
FINDING A NEW HOBBY
Something you may not have thought of is that by spending more time outdoors, you’re more inclined to finding an outdoor hobby. Maybe fall in love with running or outdoor yoga. Perhaps you discover a love for gardening. You may find that you love photography and spend more time looking at beautiful birds or wildlife so that you can capture them perfectly in a picture. These hobbies are wonderful stress relievers and increase happiness. You might even find that you’re particularly good at doing something you had never thought of before!
LESS SCREEN TIME
If you’re anything like me, your day might start by scrolling on your phone the moment you wake up followed by multiple hours in front of a computer screen, more phone scrolling after office hours and potentially watching an episode of something on Netflix before bed. Our screen time reports are revealling a hideous number of hours spent on our phones and it doesn’t stop there. To make it even worse, the number of hours children are spending in front of screens is also staggering. We need to put down the screens, pick up our keys and head outdoors. We need to look up at the sky, notice the butterflies, read a book in the garden, jump in the swimming pool, take a walk with friends or pack a picnic for you and your other half. Rather than falling down a black hole on tick tock, we need to take in this beautiful world around us and enjoy every second.
DE-STRESS, MORE HAPPINESS
Spending more time outside has been known to lower stress levels and feelings of anxiousness. With an increase in fresh air and greater activity, the body becomes energised and our corisol levels (stress hormone) and heart rates tend to drop. As a result, there has also been evidence of a reduction of inflammation in the body. With our body and mind at ease, this allows us so much room for development, new ideas and building more meaningful relationships. Mental and physical fatigue dissolve when we spend more time outside and our immune system will thank us for it. When we wipe away stress, anxiety, tension and fatigue, there is only room for happiness and well-being and that in and of itself is magical. The mood-enhancing element is real! Even on the most awful of days, just a short walk outside, listening to your favourite music will shift your mood entirely.
One of my goals for 2021 is to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Now that I’m living in this beautiful countryside, with these mountains on my backdoor step, I can’t wait to go on hikes over the weekends and explore the area but I’m also taking daily dog walks which are as great for me as they are for my pup. It’s also such a great time to catch up with my husband and chat about the day. I hope this post inspires you to head outside. Let me know your favourite way to enjoy the outdoors.