With autumn slowly creeping in, now is one of the best times of year to get outside and embrace natures benefits whether it’s a hike, a run, a swim or even just a walk with the family. On the 30th September it will be National Get Outside Day so we’re going to be giving you 5 reasons to spend time in the great outdoors and even some ideas and tips to make your National Get Outside day the best it can be.
1. Being outside helps your mental health
Studies from Stanford University: have shown that people who walk for 90 minutes in nature show decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression. With global increases in mental health and stress it’s not surprising that more studies are showing how the outdoors benefits your wellbeing with another University in Japan finding that Shinrin-Yoku (translated to Forest bathing) has a huge impact on mental health as they believe that because humans were evolved in nature that it is where we flourish best. It's not about endurance or competing, Shinrin-Yoku is just about being in a forest. You can walk, sit or lay, all that matters is that you take in your surroundings and are in peace.
2. Sharpen your focus
Creative problem solving and boosts in focus can be traced back to exposure of natural environments with evidence of breaks from work in the outdoors increasing productivity and concentration. The same effects can be found among children with attention deficits as a study found that spending 20 minutes in nature can be enough to elevate attention performance in children.
3. Vitamin D production
When it comes to getting enough vitamin D, the best source is sensible exposure to the sunshine which can only be obtained from being outside. What’s the big deal about vitamin D you ask? It is essential for us to produce and maintain healthy tissue, skin, and bones. But it doesn’t stop there, vitamin D also helps with managing insulin production and provides support to cardiovascular and lung health. So go and make the most of the sunshine that’s left before the British gloomy winter appears!
4. Physical health
Being outside and increases in physical health have a huge positive correlation as the chances are the longer you are outside the more physical activity you are taking part in. This isn’t to say that indoor activities such as going to the gym and exercise classes aren’t as healthy, however being outdoors and exercising can be more beneficial with sports scientists showing that running outside uses more energy than running on a treadmill as well as certain muscle movements being unable to be replicated when on a treadmill.
We all remember being told as children to go outside as the ‘fresh air will do us good’, at the time little did we know that this couldn’t be more accurate. Trees remove pollution from the air making it healthier for us to breathe and fresh oxygen energises us, so instead of reaching for a coffee on your Sunday morning, why not go for a walk in the fresh air to fuel your day.
Hopefully these reasons are enough to motivate you to spend the 30th September outside with family or friends, or even yourself if you really want to escape into nature. However, if you’re still stuck for some inspiration on how to spend your Sunday then don’t worry we’ve got you covered. No matter where you are you will always have access to the outdoors, whether it’s a walk with the dog in the local park or even a hike up one of Great Britain’s mountains. All you need to do is pack your waterproof jacket because we all know how unpredictable British weather can be!
Here’s a fool proof list on how to spend your National Get Outside day:
- Go kayaking or canoeing
- Swap the gym for an outdoor run or cycle
- Find a walk trail
- Go for a hike
- Visit to a nature reserve
- Camp in the British outdoors
- Have a picnic and campfire (don’t forget to clear your rubbish... or to bring the marshmallows!)
- Stroll along the beach
- Go swimming
- Try the Japanese method of Shinrin-Yoku and immerse yourself in a forest
- Watch wildlife
- Go stargazing
- Join one of the National Get Outside Day’s walks