Hope Springs Eternal: Outdoor activities to keep your body and mind healthy.

As the days are getting longer, there can be no doubt that life is starting to feel more positive. Spring is always a time of hope, but this year we need it more than ever to lift our spirits. Certainly there is nothing quite like time spent outside to keep your mind and body healthy. However, given that the only thing we have been able to do for the last few months is walk, we wanted to give you a little insight into some outdoor activities you may not have tried yet.

Firstly, let’s consider why we need the great outdoors so much. Studies have proved that even a short stroll through the woods is beneficial to your mental and physical health, can lower blood pressure and increase endorphin levels. With the never ending lockdown conditions here in the UK, many people have reported low moods, sleep issues, muscle fatigue and lack of energy. Although there are a multitude of contributing factors towards this worrying trend, lack of vitamin D plays a crucial part; why exposure to natural daylight is so important. 

Scientific Reports posted a recent article revealing the results of research conducted on 20,000 Brits, to determine the optimum amount of time spent in nature to yield benefits. Did you know that all it takes is 120 minutes per week? That’s right – just two hours spent in fresh air, surrounded by nature and you are on track to a healthier mind and body. 

So what will you do today to improve your mood? Here are four ideas to get you started:

Wild swimming 

There is something wonderfully invigorating (and slightly naughty!) about leaving your wetsuit at home, and entering open water with just your skin (and perhaps a swimming costume) between you and the elements. All wild-swimmers know the natural endorphin high that raises mood, elates the senses and creates an addictive urge to dive back in, and sets the day off to a fantastic start. 

Try a barefoot walk

Time outside with nature that also comes along with walking barefoot helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels. There are so many health benefits so, if you’ve never done this before, you’re in for a treat!

Prepare a picnic

Now that it is getting warmer, it is time to rediscover the wonderful world of picnics (and Spring is a perfect time as the wasps are still sleeping!). Your picnic could be part of a nature ramble in the woods, or as simple as throwing down a blanket in your back garden. Wrap up warm, eat outside and feel good. 

Bird watching 

Hang on and hear this out, bird watching may seem like something you never imagined yourself doing, but, you are in for a pleasant surprise because it is the perfect springtime activity. Lose yourself in the birdsong and learn about our garden friends.