Activities that take place in a natural environment give us the opportunity to strengthen our connection with nature, other people and ourselves. Research shows that our participation in outdoor sports has significant benefits for our physical and mental health, for self-confidence and for our sociability. Living in Cyprus, we have the unique convenience of being from the sea to the mountains within half an hour and, enjoying sunshine 326 days a year, we have no excuse not to take advantage of the opportunities that exist to carry out activities such as water sports, mountaineering and hiking. The benefits of physical activity, especially in nature, are already known to all of us. So let's see the positive effects such an activity can have on our mental health and well-being.
1. Strengthening Self-Confidence
Doing something with an increased degree of difficulty boosts our confidence. Trying a new demanding sport, such as climbing, kite surfing or hiking in a "hard" environment sets in motion the body's mechanism for overcoming its fears and limits, which, together with the feeling of triumph that comes with every small success, greatly boosts our confidence levels.
2. Escape from everyday life
Participating in activities in nature provides a much-needed escape from the demands of modern life and renews a sense of self outside of work and other obligations
3. Appreciation and gratitude for the natural environment
Contact with nature is a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us and further reinforces the sense of duty and responsibility we have to preserve it and protect it from destruction.
Being in nature gives us at all times the opportunity to live an unforgettable experience, enjoying magnificent natural landscapes and phenomena and identifying other life forms, sources of pleasure and inspiration.
5. Stress reduction
Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. The brain releases powerful neurochemicals that enhance feelings of happiness and contentment.
6. Feeling of cooperation and trust
As many of the group activities in nature are demanding, they presuppose increased needs for cooperation of the participants, which cooperation strengthens the sense of community and belonging. Also, by participating in group activities in nature we have the opportunity to meet other people with the same interests and connect with them in a meaningful way.
7. Exercise for the mind
When we engage in physical exercise outdoors, our mind is constantly stimulated to observe its unfamiliar surroundings, which enhances brain function and helps develop concentration.
8. Enhancing creativity
Exposure to nature in combination with the practice of an activity has been shown to enhance creativity, which is probably due to the fact that the stimuli that nature can offer, as opposed to the limited facilities of an artificial space, are a source of awareness of the countless possibilities and of the diversity that is an integral part of our world and nature.
9. Strengthening family ties.
Research reveals that families who spend time in nature together have enhanced communication and create stronger bonds.
10. Renewal of the relationship between partners
Doing challenging activities has been shown to bring couples closer together. This last, combined with the beneficial effects that exposure to nature has on human relationships, makes outdoor sports powerful boosters for companionship. Let's go out now!