The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, known to reduce stress and increase “feel good” hormones like dopamine. But many of us seeking better mind-body heath overlook the benefits found in simply spending time outdoors. It turns out the age-old adage is correct: fresh air is good for you!
While outdoor physical activities such as jogging, trail running, and hiking combine both physical exercise and the outdoors for a mental health boost jackpot, according to Harvard Medical School, simply spending as little as 15 minutes in nature in any form can improve your mental outlook, in addition to providing physical benefits.
In this podcast I take a walk up to Symonds Yat rock viewpoint with blogger Eli Bishop who is a Mountain Leader and Ordnance Survey Get Outdoors Champion and the person behind the To Outdoors And Beyond website.
She believes that everyone has their own mountain to climb and every step towards that is an achievement. She also has a particular interest in Mental Health and well being and as such has built up a considerable following on her social media.
Her career previously was the polar opposite and the pressure of running a Textile Design Degree and working in the fashion/textile industry resulted in ‘burn out’. Having been diagnosed with anxiety & clinical depression Eli turned to the outdoors.
Getting outside and taking a stroll truly can clear your head while also boosting your immune system and elevating your sense of well-being. If you can get outdoors regularly in natural light your body absorbs vitamin D and immediately improves your mood.
Just 15 minutes of natural sunlight per day is known to reduce depression and anxiety levels. Perhaps even more importantly, vitamin D and all that natural sunlight helps you sleep better at night.
Health Campaigns who may be able to help if you feel you are suffering
Equally Well UK
Natural England GOV.UK
Public Mental Health GOV.UK
Havard Medical School
Mental Help Guide
BBC Mental Health Support
You can find Eli on her website