Here at the Green Tulip office, we are lucky to be surrounded by the rolling green hills of rural Wiltshire. The view from the first floor wall of windows is always interesting; sometimes sunny, with the hills painted in greens and yellows, sometimes dark and brooding with a weather front approaching us over the ridge of Roundway hill. There’s always the temptation to go for a hike, and it inspired me to set myself the target of spending an hour on outdoor exercise or activity every day of the week, come rain or shine! ☀️ 🌤 🌧
So why is spending time outdoors so good for us?
Scientists have shown that the benefits of spending time outdoors are manyfold. Here are a few of the main benefits:
- You tend to exercise for longer, and it’s more enjoyable!
- Improves mental and physical health and reduces stress.
- Increases Vitamin D intake (important for keeping bones and muscles healthy).
- Improves your mood and self esteem.
- Increases attention and memory span.
- Strengthens immunity.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Helps weight management.
- You’ll age better (we like this one!)
This article has all the details of how and why.
How to #GetOutdoors
So, how can you squeeze the time outdoors in your day’s busy, often hectic schedule?
- Take a walk, the best and easiest exercise (in my opinion). If you run out of time during the day, then an evening stroll will set you up for a good night’s sleep. Or an early morning pre-breakfast walk will help to blow away the cobwebs!
- Take your breaks outdoors- if you are working or studying, move away from your desk and try to find a space to drink your coffee or eat your lunch outdoors.
- Meeting up with friends? Instead of the coffee shop, why not meet at a local beauty spot or nature reserve and walk while you talk.
- Take up an outdoor hobby; gardening will get you outside every day! Outdoor photography, bird watching or golfing are also great at getting you out and about.
- Walk or cycle to work or school, or use public transport. Your pocket and the planet will thank you for it!
- Do your indoor activities outdoors! As simple as it sounds; read a book, knitting, cooking or food prep and yoga will be more fun outdoors.
And, lastly… your best friend will thank you for it 🐶
#GetOutdoors all year round?
Yes, it is possible, if a little harder to get outside all year round. With bad weather and shorter days, the winter seems the prefect time to snuggle up on the sofa with a cuppa and a box set. But, this is probably the most important time of the year to make an effort. Public health advice in the UK recommends everyone to take Vitamin D supplements in the autumn and winter as our outdoor time is decreased and light levels are low. But even weak sunlight will increase our absorption of this vital vitamin and boost your mood. Here’s how I do it:
- I have a dog, not possible for every household, I understand. Walking everyday is therefore essential. Walking a friend’s dog or websites like Borrow My Doggy will get you out there!
- Wrap up warm. Warm and waterproof clothing and footwear is a must in the UK. Nothing is more likely to put you off going out again than if you got cold and wet the last time!
- I walk with my son to school, I refuse to add to the local traffic congestion and I remain deaf to his complaints on rainy days (it’s character building!).
- We plan outdoor weekend activities, including eating outdoors. There is nothing like the smell of the forest in the rain and we take thermos full of hot chocolate and even sausages to cook on the camping stove where permitted!
Has #GetOutdoors worked?
My health has benefitted form the extra time outdoors, and the extra exercise. My children share my commitment and it helps to get them away from their screens. I don’t manage an hour every single day, but over the week it balances out. I now regard getting outdoors as essential as sleeping or eating and I no longer find it a struggle to find the time.
I can heartily recommend making the effort to get outdoors and make it part of your daily routine!
My inspiration: The view from the office!