How much time do you spend in nature each day? Recent research from a team at the University of Exeter, published in Nature, suggests that 120 minutes each week results in significant improvements to feelings of well-being and increased reports of good health. This is a useful addition to the expanding body of research that documents the beneficial links between nature exposure and good health. While it is worth noting that this is ’self-reported’ feelings of well-being rather than objective markers for health, it is an important development and one where practical application is easy.
Here are some Wildfitness-friendly ways to steal more outdoor time in the most challenging of environments.
1. Aim to integrate walking into your commute to work. If you drive into town, perhaps park 1/2 mile away so you can walk 10 minutes each way to work. This also gives you a chance to set your focus before you arrive.
2. If you work from home,‘walk around the block for ten minutes before ‘arriving'. Aside from getting more exercise and getting outdoors, this gives you a chance to ‘arrive’ into your workspace, not your home space, and will give you a more focused outlook on working at home.
3. Borrow a dog from a trusted friend, or if your lifestyle can afford one, get a dog. Come rain or shine, you will have no choice but to get outside!
4. If you are leading meetings and informal interviews, offer to take them outside to the nearest park. People are often a lot more relaxed when in nature so this can often bring out the best in people. Walking and talking will also increase the amount of oxygen taken in, which can lead to more creative thinking.
5. If you have a long call scheduled, plan your day so you can take the call outside.
6. Make post-dinner evening walks a habit, with your partner, neighbour or even solo. The darker nights also stimulate melatonin release, making you primed for a good night's sleep.
7. Avoid headphones and, instead, take in the natural audioscape as well as the landscape.
8. If you are unable to get outdoors, sitting area near a window with a view of nature can still have marked benefits on health.
9. Adopt a few houseplants. This a great way for you to interact with a natural eco-system indoors.