Outdoors: Time to Unplug
By embracing outdoor activities, whether it’s through heart-pumping sports or tranquil walks in nature, we reclaim a part of ourselves that often lies dormant in the digital age
In today’s fast-paced, digitally driven world, we find ourselves constantly connected to devices, our attention consumed by screens. But amidst this digital noise, there lies a realm of tranquility and wonder waiting to be rediscovered—the great outdoors. By putting down our devices, lacing up our shoes, and immersing ourselves in nature’s embrace, we embark on a journey that not only rejuvenates our bodies but also nurtures our minds and souls.
When we disconnect from our devices and venture into the natural world, a remarkable transformation occurs. We free ourselves from the virtual constraints that bind us, opening up endless possibilities for growth and self-discovery. As we embark on outdoor adventures, whether through sports or simply a leisurely walk, we unlock a multitude of benefits that enhance our overall wellbeing. Whether it’s cycling, hiking, swimming, or any other form of outdoor activity, the act of moving our bodies in natural surroundings not only keeps us physically fit but also fosters a sense of vitality and energy.
But the benefits extend far beyond physical health. Nature has a profound effect on our mental wellbeing, providing respite from the stresses and anxieties of modern life. Studies have consistently shown that spending time in nature can alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, research conducted at Stanford University revealed that walking in nature significantly decreases activity in the part of our brain associated with depression and repetitive negative thoughts. Nature acts as a balm for our minds, offering solace and a sense of calm that is difficult to find amidst the digital clutter.
Moreover, the sights, sounds, and scents of nature awaken our senses and stimulate our creativity. When we immerse ourselves in natural surroundings, we become attuned to the intricate details of our environment – the rustling leaves, the chirping birds, the gentle breeze on our skin. This heightened sensory experience has a profound impact on our cognitive abilities, enhancing our focus, attention, and problem-solving skills. It’s no wonder that many artists, writers, and thinkers throughout history sought inspiration in nature’s embrace.
Beyond the individual benefits, the act of unplugging and engaging with nature also fosters a deeper connection with the world around us. When we put down our devices, we open ourselves up to the wonders of the natural world—the vast landscapes, the intricate ecosystems, and the myriad species that coexist with us. This connection to nature instills a sense of responsibility and stewardship, encouraging us to protect and preserve our environment for future generations. This week, we meet a group of extraordinary women who embrace the outdoors, unplugging from devices, and experiencing the rejuvenation of mind and body that nature offers.
Krystle Wright, a visionary photographer and filmmaker, intimately understands the deep connection between humans and the outdoors. Through her relentless pursuit of capturing remarkable moments in the wild, she has discovered the transformative power of nature. Her unwavering dedication and ability to push boundaries inspire us to venture outside, leaving the confines of our comfort zones behind.
Scientific studies have validated the positive effects of spending time in nature, affirming what Krystle Wright has experienced firsthand. One study conducted by the University of Michigan found that walking in nature leads to a significant decrease in depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function . As Krystle immerses herself in the wilderness, capturing the untamed beauty of the natural world, she not only creates breathtaking visuals but also reaps the mental health benefits that nature bestows.
Evie Richards, the remarkable British cyclist, takes us on a thrilling journey through her love for the outdoors and the triumphs and challenges that have shaped her illustrious career. From her earliest memories of cycling with her grandmother to conquering world championships, Evie’s passion for two wheels knows no bounds. She embodies the spirit of embracing nature, whether it’s through heart-pounding adventures or a simple ride through scenic landscapes.
Evie’s remarkable achievements on the cycling track are paralleled by the scientific findings that highlight the positive impact of nature on our overall wellbeing. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology revealed that spending time in natural environments, such as the breathtaking landscapes Evie encounters during her cycling expeditions, can boost feelings of vitality, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety . Just like Evie’s dedication to her sport, spending time in nature fuels our vitality and rejuvenates our minds.
The captivating art project Aguascopio, created by artists Liz Kueneke and Annabelle Widmann, along with photographer Tasya Menaker, celebrates the fusion of nature, costumes, performances, and synchronised swimming. Through their shared love for art, water, and nature, they invite us to explore the boundaries of our own creativity and connect with the elements that surround us. Their unique collaboration showcases the power of nature to inspire and transform.
Engaging with art in nature, as demonstrated by the Aguascopio project, has its own therapeutic benefits. Another study conducted by the University of Michigan explored the effects of nature-based art on cognitive performance and mood. The findings revealed that exposure to nature-inspired art improved attention and cognitive function while promoting positive emotions and well-being . The immersive art experiences created by Liz, Annabelle and Tasya not only stir our emotions but also tap into the healing potential of nature itself.
The Bluetits, a collective that believes outdoor swimming is for everyone, encourages us to challenge our limits and discover the fun and friendship that await us in the open water. By immersing ourselves in the invigorating embrace of cold water, we tap into the healing potential of nature. The Bluetits’ inclusive approach promotes the belief that access to the outdoors and cold water swimming can make us healthier, happier humans.
Engaging in outdoor swimming has been associated with numerous health benefits. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that outdoor swimming positively influences well-being, including improved mood, reduced stress levels, and enhanced self-esteem . The simple act of immersing ourselves in nature’s elements can have profound effects on our mental and physical well-being.
As we follow in the footsteps of these inspiring women, we realise that embracing the outdoors and unplugging from our devices is not just a leisurely activity but a transformative experience. So, whether it’s capturing remarkable moments like Krystle Wright, conquering new horizons like Evie Richards, engaging in creative collaborations like Aguascopio, or diving into the invigorating waters with The Bluetits, let us embark on our own adventures.
Lace up your trainers, step outside, and allow nature’s grandeur to nourish your soul, rejuvenate your spirit, and inspire you to live life to the fullest. In a world where screens dominate our attention and digital interactions replace face-to-face connections, there is immense value in disconnecting from the virtual realm and immersing ourselves in the tangible beauty of the outdoors.
So, let us heed the call of the wild, step outside, and embark on our own adventures. Whether we choose to climb mountains, explore forests, or simply sit in quiet contemplation by a tranquil lake, the transformative power of nature awaits us. Reconnect with nature, rejuvenate your body and mind, and rediscover the beauty and serenity that lie just beyond our screens. It’s time to unplug, embrace the outdoors, and embark on a journey of self-discovery that will leave an indelible mark on our lives.