Do you remember that word ‘outdoorsy’? The dictionary definition is ‘fond of the outdoors’. Would you describe yourself as fond of the outdoors? Or are you someone who is much more comfortable inside? Are you a hibernator – inside in winter, outside in summer? If you live in a city, do you only enjoy being outside when you travel to more greener pastures?
Whatever category you fall under, I think it’s safe to say that by and large most of us enjoy a jaunt outside, be it a 5 minute coffee break or a 4 hour walk through the countryside. We were born outdoors. We used to eat, sleep, hunt, work and live under the open skies. We’ve adapted to it – our skin, our organs and all of our senses have evolved to keep us alive in any number of weather conditions. There’s a reason your body craves fresh air and open space and to be close to nature – it’s instinctive. You were built to experience the world in its raw, natural glory. Cramped conditions with no natural light and too many computer screens can cause stress, premature ageing and even depression. Artificial air, hot or cold, affects your respiratory systems and damages your skin, hair and nails.
The benefits of fresh air are plenty. Better mood, strengthened immune system, a clearer, more focused mind. Vitamin D from the sun (yes, even when it isn’t shining) encourages cell and bone growth. The visual, aural and olfactory stimulus a change from indoors to outdoors brings increases serotonin levels and lifts anxiety. Trouble waking up in the morning? Going outside will shut off your body’s melatonin levels, making you less sleepy.
In terms of physical fitness, being indoors or outdoors is more down to personal choice. For me, the buzz I get from completing an outdoor workout such as running or swimming can’t be beaten. I love the sights and sounds and watching a client go from cold to warm as I put them through their paces. Breathing in the cold air in winter or getting under the warm sun in summer is almost therapeutic for me – we’re so lucky to live somewhere with real seasons and they should be appreciated!
Tips for getting outside more:
· Go outside for your lunch break, even for a few minutes – don’t spend it sitting at your desk
· Not a 9-5er? Substitute half an hour indoors for half an hour outdoors each day
· Wake up 5 minutes earlier each day and stand outside. You can even bring your cuppa
· Try and factor in an outdoor pursuit each weekend. It could be a walk, run, bootcamp, or even a trip to a café or market.