Connecting with nature; what are the benefits for your health?

Sometimes it can feel like we've lost of our love of the great outdoors. Screens now dominate the lives of many families, meaning they end up spending most of their time inside instead of exploring all that nature has to offer.

With National Gardening Week (April 30th - May 6th) fresh in mind, there's no better time to venture out in the great outdoors with friends or family. Here are just some benefits of connecting with nature:

A step towards good health

Like anything that encourages you to be more active, getting outside and moving around is good for physical health. Whether you're going for a walk, birdwatching, or gardening, breathing in fresh air and getting your body moving can have a whole host of health benefits. Improved circulation, reduced risk of cancer and diabetes, decreased risk of obesity and a healthier heart are just some of the benefits associated with increasing physical activity.

Improved short-term memory

A study from the University of Michigan showed that individuals who walked in the countryside performed better in a short memory test than peers who exercised in urban environments. There are a lot of theories that try to explain this result, but it's generally thought that escaping hectic everyday life allows the mind to focus better, boosting its ability when it comes to certain tasks.

Clear your mind in the great outdoors

Stress is a problem for people of all ages and from all walks of life, but studies suggest that immersion in nature can prove a valuable treatment. Research has shown that people who spend time around forests or mountains - or even have a view of them while working - generally experience better moods and report lower stress levels than those who don't.

Other studies have suggested that spending time among nature can help to restore people after "mental fatigue", which results from our brains having too much to think about.

A hobby for all ages

The great outdoors don't care if you're seven or 70, making it a fantastic way to spend time with your family. Socialising with loved ones has been proven to boost wellbeing and can even reduce problems associated with anxiety, depression and stress. Instead of watching a TV programme together or having a cup of tea inside, pack up a picnic and go for a walk. Not only does this allow you to breathe in fresh air and get your body moving, but you'll also make memories that will last a lifetime.

Let your creativity flow

Research from the University of London found that spending time outside increased participants' ability to solve creative problems. "Nature therapy" or spending time outside has long been studied by academics around the world and has shown to have a variety of benefits on cognitive skills in people of all ages.

Get in touch with nature at Barchester

Outdoor space is something that our homes prioritise as much as possible. Many of our Barchester homes feature stunning outdoor spaces that have been landscaped for residents to enjoy all year round. Several Barchester homes also feature special sensory walkways that have been designed for residents with visual impairments to enjoy, alongside residents living with dementia. If you have a relative with a passion for gardening, or if you would like to find out more about the outdoor spaces at Barchester, do get in touch with our team at your local Barchester home.