Because we LOVE it!
“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties”
– John Muir
Living, learning and loving to be outdoors is second nature to me and always has been. I fervently believe that nature and the wild can provide everything the human body and soul needs to thrive, if we immerse ourselves in it at any level, whether that’s growing a few houseplants in a city flat, living on a boat in the middle of a Scottish loch or anything in between.
By spending too much time inside, we miss nature’s powers of restoration. It doesn’t take expensive holidays or prolonged wilderness trips, start small with a quick walk or even a barefoot 5-minutes in the park or garden. You will feel nourished, restored and revitalized. Just notice what happens to your kids when they go outdoors.
On a mission
My mission is to get as many people as possible to experience the riches and benefits of connecting with nature and being outdoors in the wild.
If you need more than just my say so on getting back to nature, here are 11 reasons why getting into the wild TODAY is so good for you (with explanations from science where necessary) plus there are links to suggestions on how to start in nature if you’re not sure where to begin: – take it a step at a time with Go Wild Inside, Wild in the Garden and Go Wild Outside
11 Reasons to get back to nature
- Fresh air
- Vitamin D
- Immune boost
- Serotonin boost
- Stronger bodies
- Less screen time
- Life skills
- Connect with seasons
- Appreciate the weather
1. Fresh air is healthy
We need oxygen to survive and being in fresh air often has a deeply calming effect on us.
The fresher the air, the less pollutants are in it, saving our bodies energy we would otherwise expend eliminating toxins etc. Oxygen boosts the immune system and being in fresh air and nature helps increase energy and vitality levels.
2. Sunlight increases strength
Vitamin D helps the body regulate calcium and phosphate which are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, and deficiency can lead to bone deformities in children and bone pain and tenderness in adults.
More than 50% of the UK’s adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D with 16% suffering severe deficiency during winter and spring.
20-30 minutes of sunlight on the face, arms and legs where possible 2 to 3 times a week during summer should maintain healthy levels, with more exposure required in winter. We don’t produce vitamin D by sitting in a sunny window as the glass blocks the UVB rays, and care should always be taken to avoid sun damage when outside.
3. Getting dirty boosts the immune system
No more excuses, get outdoors, get muddy and dirty and let your wild kids get dirty too.
Recent studies regarding the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ show that early-life exposure to microbes found in soil shape the mammalian immune system by subduing inflammatory T cells in the lungs and colon, lowering susceptibility to asthma and inflammatory bowel diseases later in life.
4. Microbes in dirt boost serotonin levels
Lack of the hormone Serotonin is linked to depression and taking the hygiene hypothesis a step further, research has found that exposure to Mycobacterium Vaccae, a harmless soil microbe, actually alters our vulnerability to conditions such as depression.
The microbe can be inhaled when out walking or gardening, it can be ingested through water and eating plants picked from the garden or from carrot skins, for example (and presumably in Dead Sea mud…!). So before you hit the chocolate for your next mood boost, try a little ‘outdoors’ instead.
5. Exercise creates stronger bodies
Being active outdoors increases the use of all muscles in different ways, whether walking the dog, splashing in puddles or climbing Ben Nevis. If we sit indoors or even use the gym, which targets only specific muscle groups at a time, we are not using our bodies in the same flexible, unstructured way.
The more active we are, the stronger our bodies become.
The Danish, listed as one of the happiest nations in the world almost annually since 1973, firmly believe in exercising outdoors, as many recent books on the subject confirm e.g. The Little Book of Hygge (pronounced Hue-ga or Hoo-ga which roughly means the art of cosy, contented happiness!) Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness
6. Less screen time
There is a mass of Research regarding the effects of too much screen time on the human brain, on human behaviour and personality including possible links to childhood disorders, sleep disruption and attention problems.
Before researching the science, I instinctively wanted Caroline to be screen-free for as long as possible – it seemed wrong for one so young to watch TV at all, almost lazy parenting on my part. We were TV-free to age two and since then screen time has been limited and vetted for value, and we absolutely never watch TV channels with adverts. Getting outdoors minimises the use of screens, freeing us to interact properly with each other and nature, without the physical and mental barrier of a screen.
[The Kids of the Wild jury is out regarding Pokemon Go but currently erring on the side of it being a great way to get children outside if they would normally spend all day on a computer. However if your kids enjoy the outdoors already, they don’t need Pokemon Go anyway]
7. Improved life skills
Almost everything we do outdoors improves our life skills at some level. Walking on rough ground or stepping over tree-roots in a forest trains muscles thus improving physical balance; experiences in nature give us new things to share with others which improves language, vocabulary and conversation skills; seeing unusual things outdoors increases our general knowledge.
Even a simple activity such as tree climbing involves many life skills – testing muscles and strength, improving hand-eye coordination, building confidence, assessing and taking risks, facing fears, learning about gravity, problem solving and having FUN!
8. Connecting with the seasons
Someone recently commented to my sister that they were moving to the country after decades of city-dwelling because “they wanted to notice the changing seasons again.”
It sounds crazy but so often we get sucked into work or school, in winter we often leave and return home in darkness and we don’t make the effort to go outside, or even look outside. Seasons come and go unnoticed. Getting outdoors helps us regain those rhythms and cycles of life.
9. Appreciating the weather
We’ve all read books whose characters describe an approaching storm or predict the weather and I yearned to be in tune with the elements like those old country folk.Now, living a semi-rural existence I love watching clouds pass through, wondering if they will break, learning to smell impending rain.
You can only experience and appreciate the weather by getting outside regularly and noticing nature’s cues and changes.
10. Exercise boosts immunity
It goes without saying that getting out and about increases movement which increases fitness. Exercise also increases killer cells, neutrophils and monocytes in the body, which ultimately increase immune function. You can exercise anywhere, but it’s SO much better outside.
11. Nature is a great teacher
Nature has so much to teach us, from actual biology and species-identification to handling life experiences such as birth and death and even how to teach wild kids about sex education without embarrassment.
You have to be in it to win it though, so change your life by connecting with nature and getting outside TODAY.
These posts will give you ideas on how to begin connecting with nature, starting at home with Go Wild Inside then Go Wild in the Garden before venturing into the great wild unknown in Go wild Outside. No more excuses!