The last two years have brought enormous changes to how we interact with each other and live our lives. Our working routines have become thoroughly intertwined with our home life through periods of lockdown and jobs becoming home-based. We’ve been restricted from travelling the way we used to. And the social behaviours that once seemed perfectly normal are now deemed risky during a global pandemic. Bearing all this in mind, it appears that getting outdoors is more vital than ever.
Join us at BeWild Adventures as we run through some of the key benefits of outdoor recreation. And if you would like to explore the beauty of British Columbia in small guided tour groups, why not browse our full range of tours near Vancouver.
Outdoor Recreation and Mental Wellbeing
If we can talk of any positive knock-on effects from the ongoing pandemic, we might point to a new sense of openness that many people feel when speaking of their mental health.
In Canada, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people will be affected by depression or other mental health crises in any given year. Research suggests that by the age of 40, around 50% of Canadians will have or will have had a mental illness.
We are well aware that improving mental health care will involve various solutions. However, a growing body of studies highlights the positive role nature can play in improving our mental fitness.
Over 100 studies have been gathered together that have displayed how “being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature paintings” can positively impact our brain health, focus, sense of calm, and how we communicate with those around us.
Of particular interest to us is the recent research that identifies feelings of awe explicitly to help improve mental health. The team conducting the study describes how nature’s ability to inspire a sense of being a part of something bigger than oneself came up again and again among respondents.
We would never suggest that anyone replaces the opinions of their mental health care specialists solely with outdoor pursuits. But given the mounting evidence, we would encourage anyone to reserve as much time as possible for exploring nature.
Avoiding the Crowd in Times of Pandemic
The recent news reports are concerning: many parts of the world are witnessing rising Covid-19 infection rates. We, of course, hope that these figures are seasonal and that 2022 will see increased freedom and positivity. It is, though, safe to say that mask-wearing, the regular washing of hands, and social distancing measures will continue to be encouraged.
This is where outdoor recreation allows for peace of mind. Hiking through the woods, rowing a boat across a mountain lake, visiting a beautiful waterfall to take some pictures — you are likely to encounter large crowds with none of these activities. Outdoor recreation means space! It means fresh air and quiet.
Take the car to a national park or catch a short train journey to your nearest area of natural wonder. It’s a far cry from the overcrowded conditions of an airplane or the airport queues. The choice to spend time doing outdoor activities means keeping yourself and those around you safer.
Outdoor Recreation is Easier on the Wallet
The shopping mall, a bar or restaurant, even a trip to the movies: these all take a significant slice of your monthly budget. One of the most liberating aspects of enjoying times in the wilderness is the sheer accessibility of it.
With only a decent pair of hiking boots or trail running shoes, you can hit the forest paths. And you can begin reacquainting yourself with the natural world.
Sure, certain pieces of sporting equipment can be costly, but if you invest well, your kit should last you a very long time. Our blog on Snowshoeing for Beginners in British Columbia is a good illustration. With some preparation and research, you can get started with a range of outdoor sports and hobbies. And you can do it without breaking the bank.
Another positive (especially for those in a place like British Columbia) is magical regions of pristine wilderness on your doorstep. You don’t necessarily need to invest in flights to find adventure — sometimes, it’s on your doorstep.
Nature and Productivity
It’s long been said that images of nature increase productivity in the office. Still, now that so many companies have moved to work remotely, it is easier than ever to incorporate time outdoors into your daily schedule.
The study article cited above refers to biophilia, the human passion for the natural world. This biophilia spurs us forward, bringing us happiness, calm, and creativity. Further, a study shared in Runner’s World showed how exercise actually boosts our brainpower!
So, answer your biophilia, put on your running shoes, and hit the trails! You might find you’re being considered for a promotion before long.
Outdoor Recreation and Physical Fitness
The final selection on our list may be the most obvious of all — outdoor recreation boosts your physical fitness levels! The clean mountain air, the steep elevations, the pathways that urge you to start running.
Whether you want to ski, surf, cycle, run, or hike, the natural world serves you an outdoor gym on a platter. Your inspiration? The rolling hills and bird song. The goals to achieve? The summit of that mountain will do nicely, or the lake’s distant shoreline.
Ditch the stifling, humid, close-quarters of the local gym and embrace the wild side within you. The hike that first seems difficult will become manageable as your body develops to meet the challenges of your chosen pursuit. Let the splendour of mother nature be your rallying call. And remember, every time you engage in a health-sustaining activity like trail running or hiking, you’re ditching the phone, you’re staying out of the bar, you’re making your own adventures rather than watching them on a screen.
Thank you for reading. We hope we’ve inspired you to get out and get active. If you have any questions regarding this blog or our tours, please contact us.