Why the great outdoors is good for our hearts & minds
As many of us discovered over the last 18 months, being out in nature is good for our bodies and good for our minds. The blend of space, light and views helps us connect better with ourselves, our world and with loved ones and friends. At Lake Country House we’re lucky – we get to enjoy natural mid-Wales in all its glory everyday. So we wanted to share how you can reap the rewards of the great outdoors too.
The physical health benefits of being outside
We know being active is good for us, but it’s still startling to think that physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK. But the good news is the benefits of outdoor activity are also profound. By being active, we can reduce type 2 diabetes by up to 40%, cardiovascular disease by up to 35%, and dementia and some cancers by 30%.
Good reasons then to get outside. So just how much activity do we need to do? Government health experts say we just need at least 2.5 hours moderate activity each week. Or 75 minutes’ vigorous activity, or a mixture of both. Plus some strengthening activities on two days.
Which is actually really encouraging because, a bit of weights aside, all we really need to do is get out and enjoy a good walk in the glorious Welsh countryside.
The outdoors & mental health benefits
And it’s not just our bodies that benefit from being outside, our mind does too. Regular physical activity can reduce depression by up to 30%. The mental health charity, MIND, says spending time in green spaces can have powerful, positive effects on our moods and reduce stress and anger. It can also improve our confidence, self-esteem and our friendship groups.
How landscapes can link to mental wellbeing
Being outside and being active in nature also taps into an idea called the Five Ways to Wellbeing. These are five simple things we can all do to improve our mental health. They don’t all have to be done outdoors, but but all work well outside.
• Connect: Go for a walk with a friend or relative. Talk
• Be active: Walk, run swim, cycle, kayak, climb – whatever floats your boat
• Take notice: Really notice things around you. Tune into your senses – listen, smell and touch as well as look
• Learn: Be curious about the things you see. If identifying species isn’t your bag, just ask ‘how’ and ‘why', instead of ‘what’
• Give: Perhaps volunteer with a group. Or even just pick up some rubbish and take it home
These simple steps can transform your next walk in Wales.
Simple mindfulness exercises you can do outside
Mindfulness can be a bit tricky to define. Many exponents though simply say it’s a way to be present. To focus on where we are and what we’re doing. And in doing so, to switch off from our stresses and cares and reconnect with the people and places around us.
So how do we do it? The charity MIND has some great mindfulness in nature exercises. Some focus on breathing and being aware of our breaths in our out. Others see you focusing on movement – noticing exactly how you move, perhaps breaking individual movements down, such as which part of foot touches the ground first.
Many see you tapping into your senses. Tuning into natural sounds perhaps at first close to you, then in ever expanding waves. Some exercises work better for different people – head out to a wide open space and give some a try.
Lake Country House & enjoying the landscape
They’re all things you can while staying at Lake Country House. One of the best luxury spa hotels in Wales, it’s set amid lush scenery near Builth Wells, in Powys. You don’t even have to leave the grounds to connect with the great outdoors - we have 50 private acres to explore, and our garden rooms have spectacular views of the grounds.
We’re within easy each of Snowdonia National Park, while the mountains, waterfalls and spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons are on our doorstep. And after all that mood-boosting, mindful outdoors exploring what could be better than a soothing spa, a fabulous meal and a blissful sleep in one of our luxury rooms? Why not prepare to open up the outdoors and book your stay at Lake today.