How choosing a hobby based in the great outdoors can improve your wellbeing
An outdoor hobby, whether it’s fishing, mountain-biking, or just sitting out in the garden in the company of a good book, is near-crucial if you’re going to stay healthy and stimulated. And we’re not just talking about keeping your body in great shape, but your mind, too! But why is this so?
Exposure to direct sunlight triggers the release of endorphins which bolster your mood near-instantaneously. As such, even a ten-minute spell in the sun can be a potent antidepressant. Now, while we’re out there we need to be careful that we’ve taken adequate precautions – and this means applying suntan lotion during spells of hot weather.
For many of us, an outdoor hobby provides a way to relieve pent-up frustrations, and gain a new perspective on a problem that’s been bothering us. When you really get into the zone, you might find that all of your more mundane troubles just float away: you might, for example, be concentrating on improving your golf swing, and become so absorbed in the activity that you forget entirely all the little things that had been bothering you before you set out!
Even the most relaxed outdoor activity involves just a little bit of exercise. The positive effects of this are pretty well-documented, so we won’t bore you with them here. What we will say is that the most effective forms of exercise are the enjoyable ones that you’ll stick with over the long-term. When you begin to take the activity really seriously, you can treat yourself to the appropriate equipment. If you’re running marathons, that means the right shoes; if you’re hiking or fishing, then the same applies – but some moisture-wicking clothing will ensure that you’re able to stay comfortable while you’re outdoors.
In order to sleep well at night, your brain will need to get all of the right signals that it’s time to hit the hay. For most of human history, the only light sources have been natural light ones. We didn’t have the ability to spend hours every night staring into screens, or staying late at the office. And thus our bodies adapted to these conditions. By staying outdoors, you’ll allow your body to sync with the daylight hours. And, as a consequence, you’ll have an easier time dropping off when the time comes to hit the hay.
A great many outdoor activities are best enjoyed with the help of a group of wiling volunteers. And this provides us with a great excuse to see other people and interact with them. For the growing portion of us who work from home in near isolation, this is great; but outdoor sports and activities can also allow you to bond with familiar faces in a non-work setting.