Monday, 29 February 2016

5 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Outdoors

If you ever doubt why you should head outside for that walk, or why you should bother taking that camping trip, or you just want some inspiration, read on:

1) Time alone with your thoughts

When these days do you actually have time to think about yourself, and only yourself? Or even better, think of nothing? Whether it's work, kids, chores or something else, we all seem to be so busy these days. Putting some time aside to enjoy the outdoors gives you a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, escape the business or stresses at home and relax for a bit. Whether it's a day or a week, it's refreshing to forget about the everyday life stresses and just embrace and enjoy the moment.

Fellow trekker having a moment to himself in the Himalayas.

2) Struggling to breathe and/or relax?

Studies have shown that enjoying some time with nature is good for the soul, good for relaxation and good for battling problems such as stress, depression and many others. Sometimes I feel I struggle to breathe and relax in the stuffy, fume-filled city, full of busy crowds and way too much traffic and noise. A camping trip for a night or two normally does the trick. Breathing the fresh air, enjoying wildlife encounters and just relaxing with mother nature is like hot soup for the soul.

Camping in Perthshire. Breathtaking sunset over the Loch.

3) Challenge

Almost contradictory to the above point, sometimes we aren't challenged enough in every day life. The daily 9-5 routine can become boring, and wears thin easily. Even those who are intellectually and/or physically challenged on a daily basis - challenging yourself for your own benefit and enjoyment and on your own terms is incredibly different. Whether you're climbing a mountain , trying a new sport or undertaking a new camping trip, it's that feeling of accomplishment that makes it all worth it. It can give you that can-do feeling that you can bring back with you after the challenge is over (and spur you on to plan the next one!).

In the Himalayas, on a tough trek to Everest Base Camp. Ama Dablam in the background.

4) Re-connect with nature, family or even yourself

Phones, laptops, tablets, smartphones, iPods. We're a generation of techno-lovers. Don't get me wrong, technology is fantastic, from games on your phone to connecting with people on the other side of the world. But have you ever found yourself in a room full or friends or at a dinner table, and everyone has their heads down? Updating Facebook, sending a Tweet or Snap-chat. As much as I love social media myself, it drives me crazy that it's everywhere. Hell, Facebook send me notifications on my computer WHEN I DON'T EVEN HAVE IT OPEN. I don't want to be this connected with the world, ta! Heading off on a camping trip by a loch with no signal? Yes please. It can be invigorating getting back to basics again, and most importantly, enjoying company (or none for that matter). Heading outdoors with your family or your other half and no phones allows you to re-connect in a way that is difficult these days. On the other hand, heading out yourself and turning off your phone can also be a gift. Whether enjoying your own company or that of your family, it's incredibly rare yet necessary these days to turn off from the world.

Ryan and I on a camping trip together, no signal all weekend, bliss!

My Dad and I hiking up Schiehallion together.

5) IT'S FUN!

Eh, DUH. There is such a vast amount of things you can do outdoors! It's fun,it's healthy and there's something for everyone! Snowboarding to surfing, camping to a walk in the park. It's exhilarating to try something new and get that adrenaline rush. I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and I thrive for that feeling when you're not sure if you've done the right thing, or not sure if you're scared, anxious or excited. It's thrilling trying something new or visiting somewhere new. Before my Everest Base Camp trek, I sat on the sofa, absolutely SHI**ING myself, panicking about what was to come. But it made it all the more exciting!

Kayaking in Australia

Above all, whatever your reason for heading outdoors, embrace the beauty of nature. Nature is something we need in life, that we should respect and enjoy.  Even in the city, you can find some stunning spots to gaze over. It is a gift that is worthwhile taking the time to see :)

Sunset over the River Tay, Fife, looking across to Dundee.

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