UK weather is changeable but generally, at this time of year it’s grey and a little chilly outside. It’s tempting to stay indoors, finish off the last of the Quality Street, and snuggle under a blanket. But even in Winter, there are ways of enjoying the Great Outdoors.
We’d like you to turn off Netflix, burrow out from under the chocolate wrappers and embrace the chill. Here’s why:
The benefits of getting outside during winter
Fresh air isn’t just for balmy days. As we saw during last year’s lockdowns, the simple act of getting outside for an hour can make a real difference to your day. The benefits of time spent outdoors are countless, but we’ve summarised a few persuasive ones:
- Lift your mood – If you suffer from a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) then fresh air and daylight is your biggest weapon against feeling low.
- Give you a dose of Vitamin D – This little compound is integral in keeping your muscles, bones and teeth healthy. While you can adjust your diet to add more, getting outside is an easy way to top up.
- Settle your circadian rhythm – being outdoors in daylight regulates our production of melatonin and serotonin, the two chemicals vital for sleep.
- Improve your memory – A University of Michigan study found that even an hour in nature can improve your memory and concentration. So get outside and get smarter!
- Boost your immune system and lower stress – Over in Japan, researchers found forest bathing led to lower cortisol and lower blood pressure. Sounds like a no-brainer to us.
So, assuming you’re now convinced, you’re probably thinking “Great. But it’s freezing!” And you’d be right, but we’re way ahead of you.
How not to turn into an icicle
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing” so the saying goes.
Enjoying the great outdoors during winter…it’s all about the prep!
- Layers: Layers are the key to staying warm whether you’re moving about or sitting still chatting. Several thinner layers are better than your thick jumper because warm air gets trapped between the layers, acting as insulation. You can also adjust as you need throughout the day. For gorgeous sustainable baselayers, check out BAM.
- Think about sweat: Even though it’s cold, you can still work up a sweat, so remember to apply one of our effective deodorants before you head out
- Prewarm: your gloves and boots (and your jumpers if you want that extra boost) before you head out. This will give you that extra heat boost as you head out into the cold.
- Consider hand warmers. These are a touchy subject for those trying to be eco friendly. But you can find quite a few reusable options, some rechargeable ones, and you can even make your own if you’re handy with a sewing machine
Right, so that’s the warmth sorted. Now, you’re standing in your hallway ready to go. What should you do?
Places to go in the cold
The UK is full of beautiful places to explore. So let’s embrace the cold (with our base layers and hand warmers) and go exploring!
- Geocaching has been one of the hits of lockdown. You use an app to go in search of little caches of treasure that others have left behind, and then leave your own for the next explorer. It’s a perfect winter activity and great for keeping the kids moving! Find out more at Geocaching,com.
- Forest walks. We’re never far from a forest in the UK. Crunching over frosty leaves while the winter sun dapples through the trees is the perfect way to enjoy the benefits of outdoors. Forestry England has a good collection of walks to try.
- Surfing and Wild Swimming. We can’t open up a magazine without hearing about people taking up wild swimming. Not for the faint-hearted, there are hundreds of communities around the UK who sing the praises of jumping into ice-cold water!
- Parks and houses. The National Trust has hundreds of beautiful properties to choose from. You’ll be spoilt for choice in the parks and great houses, and you can wander through channelling your inner Duchess. Find out more about your local options here.
- Seal spotting. Fancy a trip to the coast? While it may be a little chilly for ice cream and sandcastles, this time of year is perfect to visit somewhere like Blakeney Point, where hundreds of seals pup right on the beach. Seriously, it’s amazing to see!
And while you’re on your expeditions, don’t forget to pack something to snack on! For your very own winter picnic think about taking:
- Hot chocolate and soups in a good thermos.
- Something slightly stronger (thanks to brands such as Partner in Wine, you can toast your friends on a park bench even in your 30s!)
- Something waterproof to sit on!
Wrap up warm, get out there, and send us photos!