posted in: Health & Fitness, Outdoors | 18

The fact that a quarter of people in the UK will not walk for more than 15 minutes at a time has really shocked me (read it here). I often say I’m a couch potato, I am very good at wasting time sat on my bum watching random stuff on the telly box, but 15 minutes walking is nothing to me, so maybe I need to reconsider my definition of lazy?! Anyway, alongside my #OneHourOutside challenge, I thought I would take another proactive step to do something about this ridiculous statistic and spell out a few of the benefits of getting outside here on my blog. 

Farm Walk at Vine House Farm, Lincolnshire - Sunflowers

Sunflowers on a grey day.

I guess most people who read Splodz Blogz already enjoy getting outside, that being one of the main topics I ramble on about, and so I am probably preaching to the converted. But I wanted to present a few reasons why we should all be spending more time outdoors. To spell out the benefits, if you like, to do my bit to try and encourage people (including myself) to leave the house and explore the countryside. To get out into nature and enjoy the beauty of the fresh air.

Walking in Lincolnshire - Woodland

Exploring woodland in Lincolnshire.

Thankfully it isn’t just me who thinks that getting outside is good for my body, mind and soul. It’s actually pretty well documented that spending time in nature, exploring the countryside, going for a walk and breathing in the fresh air, is good for us. Getting our one hour outside each day can offer relief from all kinds of things, and it is an incredibly good habit to keep. Here are a few of my favourite reasons to spend time outside…

Three Important Benefits of Getting Outside

It relieves stress and helps us feel positive.

Studies have shown that nature walks are great for helping us beat stress and also keep us thinking positive thoughts. For example, a study by the University of Michigan found that getting out on group nature walks enhanced the mental health of those who took part, and lead them to feel more positive. Another study, this time by Chiba University, found that your heart rate is lower in the forest than it is in the city, concluding that stress caused by work can be relieved by heading into woodland. And a study from Glasgow University showed that people who exercised outdoors (walking, cycling or running) had a lower risk of poor mental health than people who worked out indoors. So we can (and should) use getting outside as a remedy for stressful situations, and should make it a habit so we are better prepared to deal with feelings of stress and negativity when they come along.

It helps us think, focus and decide.

Feeling overwhelmed with things on your to do list, or have an important decision to make? A study published in Psychological Science suggests that heading out into the countryside gives you an important break from everyday tasks and stimulation, which in turn can help refocus your mind and improve your attention span. This means that spending time outdoors can help you concentrate on work or study. And because getting outside can help your attention span, you can also expect to get better results; another study found that those who went for a nature walk before taking a proofreading test performed better than those who walked through a busy city or relaxed in an armchair.

Getting outside is also proven to help with our decision making, mainly due to the fact it helps clear our minds and allows us time to sort things through in a space away from the home or office. Next time you’re buying a big ticket item or are deciding on your next step in life, take yourself off for a long walk or cycle ride to give yourself the space and time to think it all through.

It helps us fight illness.

I really like this one… did you know that spending your weekend outside can actually help you fight illness? Research done by the Tokyo Nippon Medical School and found that spending six hours outside over the weekend (three hours each day for two days) leads to an increase in white blood cells (the super important bits in your body that help you fight illness), and that the boost lasted for at least a week afterwards. This is super cool!

And of course I don’t need to tell you that spending time outside being active – whether it’s going for a stroll along a nice trail or doing something more energetic – is good for your fitness too, which in turn helps keep us healthy.

8 August - Walking on the Viking Way

It doesn’t matter where you go, just go outside. 

And so, with these examples in mind, I am challenging you to spend one hour outside every day this week, this month, this year. I’ve been thinking about the challenge since I set it and while I know some of you will find it super easy to tick off that daily hour, I still struggle sometimes – and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But that’s the point of a challenge, it’s something to commit to, something to work at, something to put effort in to. I’d love it if you’d join in – head over here and state your intentions… I can’t wait to get started!

Feel free to share your own benefits of getting outside in the comments below.

18 Responses

  1. Home and Horizon

    Have to agree with you wholeheartedly! I love walking – but sadly the kids prevent me from going out for hours! I now walk daily – to and from school – and for 40 mins on a Monday…it does me a world of good 🙂

    • Splodz

      We have to make time for ourselves and getting outside when we can, sounds like you’re definitely doing that 🙂

  2. Tara

    Love this post. I have first-hand experience this year of how being outside is good for mental wellbeing, as well as in many other ways. I always knew it was good for you but had never really noticed it working before. #chasingnature

    • Splodz

      I guess it’s one of those things we all KNOW is good for us, but until we make the effort we don’t realise just how good 🙂

  3. Rosie (@greenrosielife)

    I have a blog post forming in my head about ways to get outside in winter. I know it can be harder when the weather is bad but as you write, it is so important to get outside. #ChasingNature

    • Splodz

      It’s definitely harder in winter as our desire is to curl up and stay inside where it’s warm and dry. But I find those lazy moments are much more satisfying if I’ve spent some time in the fresh air first.

  4. Kelly Robinson

    Another wonderful and inspirational post. I honesty believe that spending time outside relives stress and makes me think clearer. I have too much on my plate I like to walk around our local lake as the calmness of the water and the fresh air relaxes me! I would love to do outdoor yoga at some point! Thank you for sharing another brilliant post with us #ChasingNature

    • Splodz

      Thank you Kelly. I completely agree – getting outside is a huge stress reliever for me too, the act of taking yourself away from whatever it is that is causing the stress can work wonders and help you re-evaluate what’s going on.

  5. Tamsin Mathias

    When I think about it, I really have to think about it and remind myself to go out and do things outdoors. It doesn’t come naturally to me to go out for a walk anywhere! Maybe that’s why I’m so fat. #ChasingNature

    • Splodz

      I don’t think you are unusual in that – it’s very easy to stay indoors in the warm (and dry). I think you should give this One Hour Outside thing a try… nothing to do with size, but all to do with well being. It’s worth it 🙂

  6. Bec

    I agree with every word of this – I managed to get outside for an hour all through November (when at work it meant walking between buildings/walking around the local parks) but in December it’s taken a dive as I’ve been ill alot during the month..and been completely wiped out over Christmas but I’ve managed an hour walk today – 1st Jan 🙂 I look forward to reading more about your adventures in 2017 🙂 love bec xx


    […] This means that we can still get time outside every day, and as I said in my previous post about social distancing, we absolutely should be doing that. I urge you to make the most of this – that time outside is incredibly important for so many reasons (read some of them in this post). […]

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