Are you looking for something that will help you be healthier, fitter, feel better, whilst also being stimulating, flexible and not cost you a small fortune? Well, it is right outside your door. Nature is proven to be good for your health, studies have shown that spending time in nature can help with conditions such as depression, ADHD, cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and more. Being outside in nature is said to boost your immune system and improve your mindset. Yet so few of us do it. Even just a brisk walk outside once a day has been shown to have great benefits, I however find myself walking through my local wild patch alone, perhaps meeting the odd dog walker, jogger or birdwatcher. However there is no doubt that if I went to my local gym, it would be filled with people trying to be healthier. I am not saying there is anything wrong with the gym of course, but I often wonder how different our attitude towards nature would be, and how our health would improve, if the same number of people went for a walk outside, as attend the gym each day.
At a time when people live busy and stress filled lives, nature is possibly our most overlooked solution to a growing health crisis. Despite all its proven benefits it is often not factored into health policies or even housing policies. Studies have even found that just living on a tree lined street can make you healthier. So it brings us to the big question, why are we not encouraging people to go outside more? There are adverts and campaigns constantly telling us how we should exercise more at home, go to the gym, buy a treadmill or sign up to some fitness class, when actually we could be campaigning for people to go to a local park, nature reserve, wood or beach. Exercise has become big business, but surely government health groups such as the NHS should be consistently championing nature and the benefits of being outside, especially when good health benefits them. In school Physical Education is a key part of the curriculum, and so it should be, but along side that, perhaps we should make space to get children outside, learning how to fit nature into their daily lives.
Getting more people out into nature is good not only for our health, but for nature itself, the more people that are outside, the more connected we will be with our local patch. It is a win-win, and we should all be encouraged to spend a portion of our day outside. So we should save money and scrap the gym membership, cancel the fitness classes and send back the treadmill and instead go and explore the natural areas around us.