Spring is officially here in the northern hemisphere, and with it we will be enjoying longer days, more light, and warmer weather.
For many people, the start of the spring season is when they start thinking about getting outdoors more. From soaking up some essential Vitamin D from the sun to enjoying the mental health boosting benefits of nature, there are so many great reasons to spend time outdoors this spring.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite outdoor activities sure to put a spring in your step this season.
Hiking in nature is fantastic for your physical health. Hiking burns calories, builds strength and endurance, and reduces your risk of many chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Hiking also provides a low-impact workout that is gentle on your joints, making it an ideal activity for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Getting out in nature has also been shown to reduce stress and improve mood, meaning that hiking can have a positive impact on your mental health. Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces can help to lower cortisol (the stress hormone), improve cognitive function, and boost overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Hiking is also a wonderful way to see the world and experience new places. Whether you prefer hiking through scenic forests, rocky mountains, or rolling hills, there is a hiking trail out there that is perfect for you. Hiking can also be a social activity, as you can go with your loved ones or join a hiking group to make new friends.
If you live somewhere a little warmer, spring can be a wonderful time to start wild swimming (that is, swimming outdoors in rivers, lakes, the ocean, or other natural bodies of water.)
Not only is it a refreshing and exhilarating experience, but wild swimming also offers a number of health benefits. Swimming can help improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and improving heart and lung function. As a low-impact workout, swimming can be particularly beneficial for people with joint pain or other physical limitations.
Being in the water can help to reduce stress and anxiety, helping you to relax and improve your mental wellbeing. Wild swimming also provides an opportunity to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the outdoors in a unique and immersive way.
Be careful, though–wild swimming can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Do your research, choose safe places to swim, and never swim alone.
Spring is the perfect time to tend to your garden or even to get into gardening for the first time, as the warmer temperatures and longer days provide ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of plants.
You might be surprised to know that gardening is a great form of exercise. It can help improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles, and increase your flexibility. Digging, planting, and weeding are all surprisingly strenuous physical activities!
Gardening can also be a stress-relieving activity that promotes relaxation and mindfulness, giving you a break from technology and the daily stressors of life. The act of planting and caring for plants can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, leading to improved mental wellbeing and reduced anxiety levels. If you decide to grow produce such as fruits and vegetables, you’ll also benefit from the healthier and more sustainable approach to eating that this provides.
Beetroot, spinach, kale, carrots, and brussel sprouts are just some of the best vegetables to plant in the spring.
Train for a Race
If you’re a keen runner, you may have been stuck indoors on the treadmill during the winter. Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to take your running outside and maybe even train for a race during the summer season.
Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise that can help improve lung function, increase endurance, and burn energy. Running outdoors allows you to vary your route, enjoy different scenery, and train on a wide variety of trails and terrains. You’ll enjoy the endorphin-boosting “runner’s high” as well as the mental health benefits of fresh air and nature. In addition, training for a race gives you something to aim for and a sense of accomplishment as you smash your goals.
As the weather warms up, don’t forget to stay safe and hydrated. Avoid running during the hottest part of the day and aim to go in the morning, late afternoon, or evening instead.