Extensive research has been performed to better understand how and why nature has such a significantly positive impact upon our mental wellbeing. The benefits, we know, are plentiful. Outdoor activities reduce stress, improve focus, and even lead individuals to develop greater confidence. These benefits both coincide with and support better physical health too.
The ways in which these improvements are achieved depends on the activity, as well as the environment a person chooses to immerse themselves within. Busying oneself in a garden will likely lead to a greater sense of relaxation and tranquillity, whereas the challenge of mountain biking will relieve stress through exhilaration. Both are beneficial to the body and mind but in entirely different ways.
If you are struggling with mental health issues or feel a loss of well-being, wanting to immerse yourself in nature, then here are four outdoor activities that might suit your interests.
Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous outdoor activities, it is essential to include running in this short list because it has such a significant amount of support, with a huge number of runners claiming that it has improved their mental health.
Whether you choose to run socially, in a group that allows you and your friends to explore local routes, or as an individual, pushing yourself to the limit each week, running is great for your physical and mental health. In addition to the endorphins released, often referred to as a runner’s high, running is also very low cost, requiring only a good pair of shoes to get you started, making it extremely accessible to all.
In recent years, paddleboarding has become very popular and among a wide range of age groups too. Both the elderly and young are wanting to learn how to paddleboard because, as an activity, it can be enjoyed casually by those wanting to relax and enjoy the water, or by those looking to push themselves and explore new environments.
Many revel in paddleboarding because it allows them to escape onto rivers and oceans, working with the water to travel peacefully around some of the most beautiful locations.
For some, swimming lanes inside a local swimming pool doesn’t have the desired effect upon their wellbeing. It is the immersion within nature, whether jumping into the ocean or paddling across a secluded lake, that brings them the greatest pleasure.
Wild swimming, like running, is remarkably accessible and, especially within the UK, most people will have easy access to a nearby body of water for their enjoyment. Wild swimming is physically satisfying as it uses many muscles within the body while simultaneously being totally captivating, encouraging individuals to seek out waterfalls, rivers, and even hidden shores, that they have never experienced before. This is also an ideal activity to practice alone or in groups, depending on your preference.
Neither land nor sea can satisfy some and only the vigour of taking to the air can truly allow certain individuals to feel entirely exhilarated. For those seeking heights, wanting to see the world from hundreds of feet up, paragliding is an amazing way to do so.
Overcoming one’s nerves and learning to understand the wind has an incredibly calming effect while learning to master your equipment and achieve impressive landings is certain to help people feel great, giving them goals to focus upon.