Getting Outside

Why Outside Activity Helps Mental Health 

Walking or running seems to give us an extra boost when done in natural environments rather than indoors, reducing feelings of anger, fatigue and sadness. We don't even need to do it for long! Exercising in green spaces for as little as five minutes was found to improve mood and feelings of self-esteem.

Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity. Time in green spaces significantly reduces your cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness! 

Here are some of the many ways that spending time outdoors can help support good mental health and wellbeing. 

Time in green spaces 
Researchers have found a fascinating link between access to green space, and a reduced risk of mental health problems, improved mood, and increased life satisfaction. Other benefits include reduced stress, increased physical activity, and better physical health. 

Staying active 
Besides the benefits for our physical health, exercising and staying active is also good for our mental health. We know that physical activity may reduce the risk of mental health problems, like anxiety or depression, and exercising in green spaces can have an extra added benefit. 

Relaxation and mindfulness 
Taking quiet time to reflect on our natural surroundings can be positive for mental health and wellbeing. There is evidence that ‘forest therapy’ or ‘forest bathing’ (famously known as Shinrin Yoku in Japan) may lead to improved mental health. This involves spending active time in a forest observing our surroundings, using all of our senses. 

Interacting with wildlife 
Some studies suggest that being around animals and wildlife may be beneficial for overall wellbeing. They have found that activities involving observing and interacting with wildlife in their natural habitat, such as watching birds in a garden, can improve people’s feelings of wellbeing, relaxation, and connection to nature.
Why not take a couple of minutes now to look out of your window or step outside and notice what is going on in the nature around you? 

Creativity 
Many people find nature inspires them to create, be it through painting, drawing, photography or writing. There is so much out there just waiting to be our source of creativity – from vibrant and fiery autumnal leaves to the crunch of frost underfoot on a cold winter morning. 

Gardening, conservation and farming 
There is good evidence that people who spend time gardening experience a wide range of positive results including improvements in mood, quality of life and feelings of community. 

Being part of something bigger 
Do you care about the footprint you leave behind? Want to benefit your local natural environment or community? Or be a part of a global environmental movement? Taking part in social action and making an impact in our local area not only benefits the community at large but also ourselves.? 

 

 The text above has been sourced from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/thriving-with-nature?. 

 

Local Places to Get Active Outside

Here’s a list of some fantastic local places where you can get some most likely much-needed fresh air. Click on each one to see more details. 

 

Duthie Park Trail 
Accessibility Info: Mostly wheelchair accessible but with some steep slopes & uneven ground. Entry 5 not fully accessible. See pdf of route for full details. 

Aberdeen Granite Trail 
Accessibility Info: Mostly wheelchair accessible. See pdf of route for full details. 

Aberdeen Sculpture & Curios Trail 
Accessibility Info: Mostly wheelchair accessible. See pdf of route for full details.

Aberdeen Maritime Trail 
Accessibility Info: Mostly wheelchair accessible. See pdf of route for full details. 

Old Aberdeen Trail 
Accessibility Info: Mostly wheelchair accessible. See pdf of route for full details. 

Kincorth Hill Walking Routes 
Accessibility Info: Restricted access for wheelchairs due to gradients.

Brimmond Hill Walking Routes 
Accessibility Info: Not suitable for wheelchair use due to path width, grain and slope. 

Aberdeen Coastal Trail 
Accessibility Info: Some areas suitable for wheelchairs; check pdf for full details. 

 

See our Insta Guide here for some gorgeous images of the above sites! 

 

Our Favourite Aberdeen Resident Outdoor Photographers 

A bit tired of seeing the same city streets & views day in and day out? We know how you feel. Here’s a list of local outdoor photographers who might help to renew the way you see Aberdeen (and shire!) with their beautifully unique perspectives. Check them out and give them a follow; you might like what you see! 

 

Carms Ramos 

Tycia 

Mike Meller 

Jael-Broken Pics Photography 

One Man & His Drone 

Charlie Davidson 

Mark Purmal 

Mairi Grant 

Mark Donovan 

Max The Cocker UK