5 Reasons to Go Outside

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Ashton Court, on the edge of Bristol, last week. 

As a writer, like much of the rest of the population, I spend a frustratingly large amount of time inside, staring at a computer screen and tapping away at my keyboard. I really enjoy my work but there are still times when I look out of the window and think, I want to be out there instead – especially when the subject of what I am writing about is the outdoors itself! This post is being written therefore, partly in a selfish manner, to inspire me to take a break and get outdoors.

I sometimes have to remind myself that much of my work actually happens when I am in the outdoors. It is where my inspiration and my motivation comes from. Being out in the natural world is eminently more fascinating than browsing Facebook or Buzzfeed or looking at pictures of nature on a screen.

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Even on days like today (yes the picture above really is what the sky looks like at the moment) it’s important to get out there.

Here are some of the reasons why…

1. Improve your mood and self-esteem

A study from 2010 from University of Essex researchers Jo Barton and Jules Pretty suggested that ‘green exercise’ (getting outside in the presence of nature) can have benefits for both short and long term mental health. Every ‘green environment’ that they studied seemed to improve mood.

2. It will boost your creativity

This is a big one for me. I often find that even just walking in the outdoors gives you space and time to think and put things in perspective. It will enable you to generate new ideas, whether for work or life and increase your focus when eventually you get back to what you were doing before.

3. It will reduce stress

If you are feeling up tight or stressed then one of the best things you can do is get outside and go for a brief walk, or even just get out and breathe in some fresh air. Again, it allows you to stop, think and put things in perspective and can sometimes offer an alternative way of thinking about your problem. Even a view of ‘nature’ can help reduce stress, as shown in multiple past studies, such as this from the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research.

4. It will restore concentration

Time spent outside diverts your attention and allows you to take a break if you are spending the rest of your time cooped up in an office or in front of a screen. Go for a brief walk or head outdoors and when you return your concentration will be restored. It’s always good to get away from any distractions that might be present on the internet! Spending your time outside will be a much more enjoyable and fruitful way of spending your ‘non-work’ time.

5. Spending all of your time indoors is not healthy

All in all, spending the vast majority of your time in front of a screen is not a good way to spend your day. Many of us do it and have done it but we should make an effort to get out there and get some exercise. It will improve mental health, for the reasons explained above, and it will also boost physical health.

With the above in mind, I am now going to get out of the office and head outside!

 

 

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