Date: April 2021

Why getting back to nature is good for you

It’s no secret that our day-to-day lives have been a little quiet in the last year. Friday nights out with friends have been replaced with zoom quizzes and homemade G&Ts and trips to the gym are swapped with online workouts and makeshift ‘water bottle weights. As national restrictions have pressed on, what has become clear is that small things we previously took for granted can make all the difference. The joy and relief a few moments outside has been something we have all learnt are important to keep us going through tough times.

We sometimes take for granted what a breath of fresh air, some sunshine on our face and the ability to wander around can do for our mind, body and soul. Recent studies have shown that nature and spending time with the natural world can play a key role in maintaining our mental and physical health and improving it.

As brighter days are coming and the easing of national restrictions appear on the horizon, now is the perfect time to spend some time outdoors. Be that taking a 10 minute walk in some green spaces or embarking on an adventure through nature, regular time outdoors could never be more important.

A great way to reap the benefits of nature is to enjoy it in mindful ways. Here are some of the ways you can make the most of your time outside:

Capture the moment

Photographing the natural world is a fantastic way to boost your mental wellbeing. Taking a camera out and searching for wildlife or foliage to capture forces you to slow down, focus on what is around and channel your thoughts into the finer details. It may seem simple, but when you are consciously taking the time to stop and capture photos, it allows your mind to shift focus away from the stresses of modern life and take you to a happier place. In addition, the photos you take can provide memories to look back on during the days when it isn’t possible to get outside, a mood booster in itself on the darkest of days.

Collect treasure

Another way to be more mindful when you take a walk is to collect treasures as you go. Taking notice of the little things that make up your walk can be a wonderful way to appreciate the world around you. You could pick flowers to dry and press, collect conkers or other interesting leaves or perhaps a fallen feather from a bird. Collecting items can provide a memory of your walk, or perhaps help fuel a creative project using natural materials you have foraged.

Chat to a friend

The past year has made socialising rather difficult, but human interaction is vital to maintaining our mental health. Ask a friend to meet you for a walk outdoors, or why not join one of Westbank’s health walks. The walks allow you to discover some of Devon’s wonderfully diverse wildlife and offer a fantastic opportunity for you to stay connected and meet like-minded people.

Exercise outdoors

Why not double up on your endorphins and get your heart pumping outside? It doesn’t need to be a vigorous workout; a fast-paced walk is sometimes all you need. If you are looking for something a little more challenging, go for a run or join an outdoor exercise class. The Westbank Fitness Team are running several outdoor exercise classes to help you reap the benefits of the great outdoors and offers a comfortable space to exercise whilst COVID is still prevalent. Jump into action with our Hiit Fit, Core Blast and Circuits sessions to get your body moving and blood pumping, all whilst enjoying a breath of fresh air.

Find out more about how you can get involved in our health walks or join an outdoor fitness class.

Want to see what Devon’s wildlife has been up to whilst we have all being staying at home?

Watch Sylvie’s relaxing video to bring the outdoors to you.