Physical health benefits of being in nature
Being among nature and green space isn’t just great for mental health, as the physical health benefits of being active outside are also well documented, from decreased blood pressure to getting a Vitamin D boost, to improved self-esteem6– with outdoor movement now referred to as “green exercise”.
Green exercise is defined as physical activity in the presence of nature and is a term that was coined by the University of Essex in 2003, when a research team was set up to look at where, when, how and why green exercise brings health and well-being benefits7.
Many of us spend a huge proportion of our time indoors, potentially undermining our physical and mental health. The green exercise movement has picked up pace in recent years with more people recognising the positive impact that being outside, whatever the activity, can have on health and wellbeing. Essentially, the combination of physical activity and time outdoors, really taking in what you see, hear and smell, really supercharges the ‘feelgood factor’ you get.
Taking a walk in nature, especially a brisk one (walking at a pace that gets your heart beating faster, but you can still hold a conversation) is a great health all-rounder. If you don’t feel motivated to walk alone why not rope in other members of your household or support bubble. Being active with others not only helps with motivation but it's also a great mood booster.
If this alone don’t have you reaching for the door, some of the greatest minds in history were renowned walkers, using it as a way to clear the brain, solve problems and boost creativity:
Greek philosopher, Aristotle, conducted his lectures while walking the grounds of his school in Athens. Prolific author Charles Dickens would go for a long walk after daily periods of writing, and at night when he couldn’t sleep. Beethoven would apparently walk whatever the weather and would carry a pen and sheets of music paper in case inspiration struck. Even former President of the USA Barack Obama is known for his walking meetings, as is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
What are you waiting for? Get outside and find your feelgood!