Healthy food, enough sleep, social contact… These are all elements that help you achieve a good life. However, one key element is missing from this short list. That is enjoying the great outdoors. In this article, we’ll look at what an outdoor lifestyle is, and how you can incorporate outdoor living into your own life.
There is no single definition of an outdoor lifestyle. If you asked a few people their thoughts on what an ‘outdoor lifestyle’ looks like, one might mention having a garden with sling chairs and a jacuzzi, whereas another might stipulate being in the middle of nowhere, without any electrical devices, and having a limited or no environmental impact. A third person might talk about soaking up the beauty of nature come rain or shine.
A beautiful sunrise viewed from a mountaintop after a long and heavy hike. Spending your days amongst nature. Living as respectfully within our ecosystem as possible. An outdoor lifestyle can be anything that helps you experience and maintain a connection to the outside world.
There are several reasons to spend more time outdoors – here, we’ve listed twelve of the most important.
A lot of people experience chronic stress. But research shows that being in nature leads to lower cortisol levels in comparison to staying in a city or other busy area. Even if you can’t get out into nature, simply looking at natural scenes from your window can lower stress levels.
Sometimes, you might feel so exhausted after a busy day at work that you just want to go to bed or lay down on the sofa. However, to fill yourself with energy again, try getting out into nature. Restorative environments can function as an instant ‘medicine’.
If you experience depression or anxiety, being in nature can help. And combining being in nature with exercising – such as walking, cycling or running – boosts the positive effect. Interesting fact: if there is water around, the benefits are even stronger.
It has been shown that spending time outside, particularly in forest areas has positive effects on the immune system. One finding is that being in nature increases the rate of creation of white blood cells. And the more white blood cells flow through your body, the better your resistance is.
We’re not done with the health benefits yet! Being outside and combining this with exercising like nordic walking or cycling lowers blood pressure.
According to studies, outdoor walks in nature have a positive effect on short-term memory. One theory is that walking in nature is calming, which allows the mind to relax and process information more efficiently.
In line with the aforementioned advantage, spending time in an outdoor environment has the benefit of enabling us to focus better. Research shows that children with ADHD can concentrate better as a consequence of being in nature more often.
According to a variety of studies involving children, being outdoors has a protective effect on the eyes and can reduce the incidence of myopia (short-sightedness).
According to various studies, being outside contributes to creativity. This could be because we tend to think in a more problem-solving way. For a creative boost, even a short walk or bike ride in nature is enough.
Did you know that being active in nature leads towards a better diet and a healthier lifestyle? People who are active generally look for food options that provide them with the best possible nutrition to take good care of themselves. A win-win.
Daylight is key for happiness and health. With enough of it, you’ll sleep better and produce plenty of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy development. So try to go outside during the day as much as possible.
Studies show that people are happier when they are in nature and green places than when around built-up urban areas. Extra tip: being on the coast or in grasslands makes you feel even happier!
The answer depends on your definition of an outdoor lifestyle. This is good news, as it creates endless possibilities.There are many ways to get out into nature. For example:
- Take up a new hobby like mountain biking, trail running or hiking. Instead of visiting a city during your weekend, travel to a forest, the dunes or any other undeveloped place.
- Go for a walk during the day, preferably somewhere with trees, a lake or grasslands around. Even ten minutes can make a difference, and a local park will do. Which hidden green spots can you discover?
- Create a vegetable garden. Not only will you be outside, helping things grow is hugely satisfying. And you get to eat the healthy produce too!
- Book a holiday to a destination in the ‘middle of nowhere’ to really feel at one with nature.
Go camping, and keep it basic. Without the luxury of constant running water, a comfortable bed and heating, you’ll appreciate what you have. Going back to basics allows you to take your time and slow down in your daily activities.