Its the beginning of May and we are emerging from the depths of a long cold winter. The world outside seems a little less dreary. My garden is bursting with frothy pink and white blossom and the woodlands we edge onto are thick with a carpet of bluebells.
Now I'm a big fan of getting cosy and hibernating over winter (my favourite winter activity is going back inside) but there is something very fresh and new about Spring and lets face it by this time of year, frankly we are all suffering from cabin fever and SAD.
Getting outside and connecting with nature is undoubtedly therapeutic. In fact the charity MIND refers to it as 'ecotherapy' and they actually have a range of nature based programmes such as community based gardening to support mental health and well being. (mind.org.uk) Of course you don't have to formally embark on a structured course to appreciate the benefits of being outdoors, you can just find the nearest green space or stretch of countryside and absorb yourself into it, preferably without your phone or at least turned off! I put this to the test tonight and met up with two other like minded, slightly work tired friends for a brisk evening walk around the woods. Despite being munched on by ferocious midges it was a genuinely pleasant experience. The added benefit was being able to download our moans and groans of the day in a calm and tranquil environment whilst feeling smug about the calories burned. A study published two years ago in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found outdoor walking participants saw significant improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat , lung function and mood. Seems like a win win (although I'll be sure to pick a less midge infected route to navigate next week)
If you would like to take a virtual walk in the woodlands, I have crafted a special audio for you to enjoy..
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