Embracing Nature: 7 Outdoor Activities for a Healthy Mind-Body Connection

7 Outdoor Activities for a Healthy Mind-Body Connection

Hello dear friend,

Another calendar month goes by, it’s interesting to look back and see the things you have picked up and the things you have dropped .

I certainly picked up my gym routine this month, my diet is still on the backfoot but we will get there soon. The days and weeks as they go by, mark our lives, each one matters all by itself almost as much as the collective matters.

It is a such a privilege to open our eyes and live another day. A day full of potential and blessing. I am indeed grateful for the end of this month.

Amidst the many blessings given to us by nature, I find fascinating The Great Outdoors. Something about it is free and unhurried, casual yet strong and determined. In the most bizarre  circumstances, the outdoors stay stoic and full of unwavering wisdom.

I find so much peace and calm in the things that are not bothered by our worldly burdens. I am constantly in the search of time and opportunity to to reconnect with nature. It is refreshing, grounding and clears my head.

It has gotten much warmer here in the UK so everyone doesn’t wear shirts anymore, it’s bare chest season!! Can’t knock anything that makes you turn off the TV and go outside.

The benefits of spending time outdoors are well-documented, from reducing stress to boosting mood and enhancing physical health.

I’m excited to remind you today to consider how embracing nature through outdoor activities can strengthen the mind-body connection and improve your quality of life.

The Power of Nature on Mental Health

Nature has a unique way of calming our minds and restoring our spirits. The sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors have a profound impact on our mental health. They stimulate our senses and the parts of our brain that is creative and innovative, making newer neural connections for wellbeing.

Studies have shown that spending time in natural environments can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

Subscribe to My Newsletter

The Japanese practice of “forest bathing” or “shinrin-yoku” highlights how immersing oneself in a forest can lead to a significant reduction in cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone. This is one of my favourite things to do, I would take the opportunity anytime I find it.

Some people get the same sense of well-being from being around water in form of lakes/sea/ocean/beach.

Action to try: What works for you? take note of it. Ask yourself why it calms you, write these down, look again and try and see if you can identify some images/smells/textures/sounds/emotions/colours that your wellbeing place evokes for you.

Go outdoors and live longer with good health

Outdoor activities are a fantastic way to stay physically active, which in turn, benefits our mental health.

Regular physical activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a hike in the mountains, or a swim in a lake, engaging in outdoor exercises can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and enhance flexibility.

There is a drive towards improving mobility whatever that is for you. We all must aim to move our bodies for as long as possible as we get older.

Resist the urge to sit for long hours, buy a walking pad for your office, a standing desk, set a timer to get up and walk, eat lunch away from your desk (I need to hear this more).

Seven (7) Top Outdoor Activities to Try

Here are some of the best outdoors activities I recommend. Just pick whichever suits you and make sure you have a good time:

1. Hiking

Hiking is a wonderful way to explore nature while getting a great workout. Trails vary in difficulty, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a path for everyone.

The rhythmic movement and the fresh air can clear your mind and elevate your mood. I used to think I liked hiking until I found real hikers, I am more of a gentle hiker and I will easily do a 2hr walk exploring unknown paths in the woods and just enjoying the quiet.

To be safe always have your phone and if possible go with someone. I met a lady once who had dogs for this purpose. Great idea.

2. Gardening

Gardening is more than just a hobby; it’s a therapeutic activity. Tending to plants can be a mindful practice that reduces stress and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Plus, growing your own herbs and vegetables can contribute to a healthier diet. I love my home garden and I have recently adopted a public garden to care for too.

The wellbeing effects cannot be overemphasized.

3. Meditative movements in the Park

Practicing moving outdoors combines the benefits of moving with the calming effects of nature. The natural surroundings can deepen your sense of relaxation and mindfulness, enhancing the mental benefits of your practice.

4. Cycling

Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that can be both exhilarating and relaxing. Whether you’re riding through city parks or countryside trails, cycling allows you to cover more ground while enjoying the beauty around you.

Check our your thighs after you get over the initial painful start.

5. Kayaking and Canoeing

Water-based activities like kayaking and canoeing provide a full-body workout and a unique perspective of the natural world.

The rhythmic paddling and the sound of water can be incredibly soothing, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. My colleague recently took some service users kayaking and ended up getting soaked from head to toe. She was freezing but has so much fun.

6. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a peaceful activity that encourages mindfulness and patience. It requires you to slow down, observe, and appreciate the small details in nature, which can be incredibly grounding and meditative.

Trying to observe birds is a whole vibe. They each are so different and some look so similar too. a whole world all by itself, the bird world.

How they build nests with such precision and intelligence…

A wonder to behold. Grab some binoculars and a bird jotter and get spotting.

7. Forest Bathing

Ever heard of forest bathing? Nope, you won’t get wet at all,  it’s about soaking up the natural beauty of forests. As you wander through wooded areas, take the time to truly connect with your surroundings.

Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the rustling leaves, and let the tranquility of nature wash over you. You are lucky if you have a forest around you to visit.

You can Support My Work

Tips for Getting Started

  • Start Small: If you’re new to outdoor activities, begin with short, manageable outings and gradually increase your time and intensity.
  • Stay Safe: Always prioritize safety by checking weather conditions, wearing appropriate gear, and staying hydrated.
  • Be Mindful: Engage your senses by focusing on the sights, sounds, and smells around you. This mindfulness can enhance the restorative effects of nature.
  • Make it Social: Invite friends or family to join you. Sharing outdoor experiences can strengthen relationships and increase the enjoyment of the activity.

Embracing nature through outdoor activities is a powerful way to nurture both your mind and body. Whether you’re hiking up a mountain, planting a garden, or simply sitting in a park, spending time outside can bring a sense of peace, joy, and connection to the world around you. So, lace up your shoes, grab your hat, and step outside—your mind and body will thank you.

Remember, nature is always there, ready to welcome you with open arms. Let’s make the most of it!

Feel free to share your favourite outdoor activities or experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear how nature has positively impacted your life!

Until next time, stay authentic,

Stay resilient, and continue to honour your needs.

Live wholeheartedly,

Amaka

2 Cor 3:2(MSG)

You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Scroll to Top