Today’s blog post has been provided by our fabulous writer, Katlyn Spade.

The health benefits of an outdoor lifestyle

Spending time in the great outdoors brings a number of different health benefits. So learning to embrace the natural world in all it’s forms and whatever the weather could put us at a big advantage as far as our mental and physical health is concerned.

Embrace the natural world!

If you already consider yourself a nature enthusiast but you feel you would like to be spending more time in the great outdoors, then investing in a bit of equipment for hiking or camping and setting off on an adventure will be sure to revitalise you and deepen your appreciation for what nature has to offer.

There are a whole range of fun and exciting outdoor activities that you can try, and there is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

It could improve concentration and enhance creativity

Taking a break and getting outdoors helps clear your mind, energise you and improve your ability to focus and concentrate. It could help stimulate creativity by serving as a source of inspiration or creating the mental space necessary to come up with new ideas.

The scientific term for this is called ‘nature therapy’ and it is being utilised in various way in healthcare to help patients with different conditions manage their symptoms. Researchers have found that it could help manage the symptoms of ADHD, just 20 minutes in the park could be enough to help children with ADHD concentrate better. Another study showed that people who spent at least four days immersed in nature, whether it be on a camping or cycling trip, improved their performance on a problem solving test by 50%

Supports mental health

Spending time walking in nature can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, and combining your time spent outdoors with exercise will have even more of a positive effect. The presence of water has also been shown to amplify feelings of well-being.

Spending more time in local parks, outdoor swimming pools or even swimming in the sea if you are lucky enough to have that luxury are all activities that have been scientifically proven to alleviate anxiety and depression. One study found that walks in the forest helped to greatly minimise feelings of anxiety. A further study highlighted the benefits of nature on depression. Stanford Researchers found that key neural activity associated with depression was lessened when study participants took a 90-minute stroll in a natural setting compared to those who walked through an urban environment.

Reduces inflammation

Inflammation in the body can cause headaches, muscle soreness, abdominal pain and fatigue. High levels of inflammation over prolonged periods have been linked to a range of illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. Studies have shown that going for a walk can greatly help reduce inflammation, which can help alleviate headaches, muscle soreness and combat fatigue.

Eliminates fatigue and boosts mood

Marvelling at the beauty of nature, whether it be a beautiful sunset, an impressive coastline or a beautiful landscape can be an awe-inspiring experience and serve as a huge mood enhancer. One study found that even looking at pictures of nature is mood boosting. The brain releases powerful mood enhancing neurochemicals when walking in nature which increases levels of satisfaction and can make you feel more positive.

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