If anyone has met me, they will know I love a bit of outdoors activity; be that hiking, rambling, mountaineering or running. I just can’t get enough, but why do I feel this is such an important aspect of my life?
Mainly because it helps clear my mind, I personally find being outdoors meditative, you are able to process your thoughts and digest your daily and weekly encounters, I often find it helpful to “de-humanise”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love spending time around people, however on some occasions this may become overwhelming.
There has been much research into the psychological benefits of outdoor activity, sports or otherwise. A 2009 study by Ryan, Weinstein and Bernstein et al. published by the journal of environmental psychology, found that “Being outdoors was associated with greater vitality, a relation that was mediated by the presence of natural elements”.
A systematic review of studies comparing indoor versus outdoor activity conducted in natural environment suggests that outdoor activity, which is conducted in a natural or green environment causes greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement.
Similarly, a smaller pilot study revealed that participants had;
As well as the psychological effects of immersing yourself in nature, there are cardiovascular benefits.
Gladwell, V. , Brown, D., Wood, C., Sandercock, G., and Barton, J. (2013). The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme Physiology & Medicine.
Mutz, M and Muller, M. (2016). Mental health benefits of outdoor adventures: Results from two pilot studies. Journal of Adolescents.49, 105-114.
Ryan, R., Weinstein, N., Bernstein, J., Brown, K. Mistretta, L. and Gagne, M. (2010). Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental psychology, 30. 159-168.
White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B., Hartig, T., Warber, S., Bone, A., Depledge, M. and Fleming, L. (2019) Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep 9, 7730. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3