As the seasons quickly begin to change many people start to remain indoors more. Camping season, comes to an end for many people and outdoor pursuits seem less inviting to many, so why should we go outside? Yes, it is colder, wetter and the days become so much shorter too but should that really put you off?
The short answer is no, the outdoors are there to be explored all year round and we are going to give you The ULTIMATE reason to get outside and 5 ways in which to do this so you can have fun, keep healthy and enjoy what nature has given us.
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Getting outside in both autumn in winter can be fun, exhilarating and great for our health and it is worth that little push to actually go out and make the most of ALL seasons as you WILL certainly reap many benefits in doing so.
The reason you should be getting outside no matter what the weather is quite simple – It IS GOOD For YOUR Health! It is really as simple as that. It is not just good for you physically to get outside and get your body moving but also extremely important for your mental health too.
Little equipment is needed unless you want to pursue certain activities. You simply need warm clothes, good footwear and some protection from the wet or rain if the weather is changeable. For many of us, we have the above as we use them while on our camping trips.
As Alfred Wainwright always said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”.
And for most outdoor activities this is indeed true – unless you are into more extreme activities such as winter mountain climbing, then extra precautions and gear would be needed.
You don’t need to fork out for loads of expensive gear, simply ensure that what you have is adequate. Good shoes or boots, we always prefer to use our walking boots anyway unless the sun is splitting the trees as we know we are walking a suitable path. Waterproof jacket and trousers, a warm layer underneath, such as a fleece or jumper and if extremely cold a base layer, this could be as simple as a long-sleeved t-shirt and leggings or long johns.
Kids all-in-one suits, paired with some good old wellie
s will be sure to keep them warm. Do remember that most wellington boots do not keep your feet warm so ensure an extra pair of socks is worn to help keep out the cold and pull the legs of the suit over the wellies as kids love to jump around in puddles and this will save water getting inside the boots and causing wet feet.
Taking Care of Your Gear
Never wash your waterproof clothing as you would your other clothes. These have a waterproof layer on them that normal detergents will damage. For this reason, it is always best to use a good Tech Wash for items such as waterproofs, outdoor jackets and even your rucksacks. Your shoes or boots should be allowed to dry then be cleaned after each use and when needed waterproofing with a good product such as this.
Yes, your clothing and gear are more likely to need cleaned or washed when using them during autumn and winter as the change in weather means the ground is softer and there is more mud underfoot. When we are wrapped up to keep warm we may sweat more too and this can become trapped in the fibres of the materials we are wearing causing odours.
Using a good reliable product such as the one we use will keep your clothing and gear in tip-top condition and save you having to replace them for a while.
Getting outside and getting your body moving is great for everyone’s physical health, simply getting out a walk is enough to raise your heart rate and get those muscles moving.
We should all aim to get some exercise in every day but in the winter months when we are working most of the daylight hours, for some, this isn’t possible, when we use walking outdoors as our daily exercise. If this is the case for you try to extend your walks and time spent outside at the weekend to make up for what you were unable to do at during the week.
The winter months for many are spent indulging in more calorific and comforting foods which lead to gaining a few pounds so getting outside and getting your body moving is a great way to combat these stacking up too much.
As the darker nights “draw in”, for many so does some challenging times with their own or others mental health. Some conditions such as SAD worsen, depression and anxiety can creep in or worsen. Many people are even unaware of this happening to them and just blame the weather and time of year for them sleeping longer or the lack of energy they feel. In the UK Mental Illness Awareness Week is from the 4th – 10th October in 2020 and I find this a great time to encourage people to think about their mental health and what they can do to keep mentally healthy and getting outside and exercise can both play big parts in this.
So this is also a good time to encourage others to join you in doing so, whether it be family outings or meeting up with friends either as a family or group and doing things together. Not only c
an this makes getting outside more fun but by knowing you have people you talk to also helps with aspects of everyone’s mental health.
For further reading on how the great outdoors is beneficial for your health and why some doctors now actually prescribe it you may want to check out the following posts.
Are you stuck for ideas of things to do that can get you outside and enjoying the outdoors?
Well, there are several things you can do and activities that you can do that will making getting outside more fun for everyone. Below I have listed 5 simple suggestions so you never run out of ideas or things to do, I have also added some sites where you will be able to find further information on some of these activities.
All of the following activities only require suitable clothing, some planning and at times use of a phone (which most people carry everywhere with them anyway) and one requires a pen. Meaning there is no excuse not to go out and make the most of the colder months.
Walking is a simple and easy way to get out and about and enjoy not only some fresh air but the changes in nature that the seasons bring.
Walking can be as simple as taking walks in your own local area or venturing further afield to try out some new walks, some you may know of and maybe, some that you have found online or people you know may have suggested. Most country parks offer good walks within them and most of these are displayed on maps around the park or by waymarkers showing you the walking route that you want to take.
If you are looking for some new walks or want to try something more adventurous a great way to find walks is by visiting the Walking World website. This site has over 7500 walks and lets you use a filter to find suitable walks for those who are going out walking. You can filter the walks by types, distance, difficulty and search area.
To get basic information of the walks the site is free to use, or, if you would like the walks in more detail you have 2 choices of how you do this. You can buy a yearly subscription for £18 that will give you access to all the walks and allow you to print them out in PDF format or by purchasing information for single walks at £1.95 per walk.
Walking World also has an app and if you do subscribe you can download all the information straight to your phone for you to use at any time. The site is FREE to join and you can get basic information for free whether you choose to subscribe will be entirely your choice if you think this would be something that is of benefit to you.
Do you fancy trying some hiking but don’t know where to start or who you can go with?
If this is the case there are several ways that you can find people who you can both learn from and join up with to go out on some hiking days. A simple online search should allow you to find either a hiking group in your local area or a site such as Meetup where you will find like-minded people who you may be able to join on hikes in your local area. Often there will be a group of people who meet up to go out on hikes. If you do use a site like this be sure to stay safe and only agree to meet up in groups until you get a few people better.
Hiking maybe a little too adventurous if you have young kids but if you have older children who are interested in this type of activity or even if you are the only person who fancies giving this a go this is a great way to introduce yourself while having a friendly face to help you out as you get started.
Try to get some advice through local online forums and groups to ensure you get the most out of this type of activity and don’t be afraid to ask for help or decline offers of joining up when you feel the hike is beyond your current capability. If you push too hard or go out and struggle to keep up with the group they will not thank you for it. Stay safe and within your comfort zone until you are more knowledgeable about hiking itself and your own capabilities.
We have spoken about geocaching before, here at CampMe Happy, and we feel this is a great activity to do if you are looking to get outdoors in the colder months, although it is a year-round outside activity. We tend to reserve it more for autumn and winter as we have more time to enjoy it through these seasons. You can read the full blog on Geocaching here.
Geocaching is like a treasure hunt for people of all ages and often referred to as “using multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods”.
Although not all geocaches are in the woods, in fact, geocaches can appear almost anywhere from underwater to the top of the mountains.
Geocaching uses a GPS device like your mobile phone to find a “cache” that has been hidden by someone else. Once you find the cache you will have to record your find by signing a physical log book or similar that will be inside the cache or by logging your find online, through the geocaching website or app.
Again this activity has many difficulty levels of cache finds and terrain so there is something for all age and ability levels to enjoy.
You can enjoy geocaching by registering for FREE at Geocaching.com and if you find that this is something you or the family enjoy you have the option to upgrade by way of monthly or yearly subscription to enjoy even more caches that you can find.
You will only need one account if doing this as a family and can have some fun by choosing a name your yourselves. This is the name you will use when logging your finds.
This is geocaching in it’s simplest version but if you do decide to look it up or give it a go you will find that there can be a lot more to it than this. From meetups and clean up to hosting your own event, or even attending a mega or Giga event (normally camping there, lol) how much you get involved is entirely up to you and you can dip in and out of this activity whenever you want. As I said before we tend to keep this for the colder months to give us something to do but, if we are away camping and looking to explore the local area this is a fantastic way to do it. If you have younger children this can be a great way to educate them on a variety of topics while still being fun and enjoyable for all.
Yes, you read right! Photography is a great way to get outside and be inspired by nature. I know photography in itself is not physically demanding but the walks you often need to take to get the shot you want to capture often can be. You may want to simply start by taking pictures at your local park and honing those skills but if this is something you enjoy you may want to then start to venture further afield to capture some amazing shots.
Yes, I know, I said above that no specialized equipment is needed and if you have a decent phone this still holds true. You can capture some amazing photographs on your mobile device these days. There are some great apps you can download directly to your phone and also some sites that give great tips on getting the best pictures on a mobile device. One such site is https://digital-photography-school.com/mobile-phone-photography-beginner-tips/. It makes more sense to use what you have until you are sure that this might be something you want to pursue further. Photography equipment is expensive so start out simple and see how you go.
The colours at this time of year are amazing for photographing as are the night skies. The sunrises and sunsets can be really colourful and dramatic when you have some rolling mists and still waters to pair them with. And, today with the likes of Instagram and Facebook you are able to get inspiration from other people and photographers of pictures you would like to try and capture yourself.
Whether it be magnificent landscapes, historic buildings, nature and animals there is unlimited opportunity to get outside and capture some amazing photos. Sunrises and sunsets are at more reasonable times of the day at this time of year so there is no need forgo too much sleep in order to capture them.
The best thing to do is get some tips online about mobile photography and go out and try to see which type you prefer or you have more of an eye for and above all enjoy the outdoors.
Do none of the suggestions given above really excite you like the idea of camping does? Well, you can always try day camping. This is where you will find a suitable place to set up camp for the day and spend some time out in nature. I know this will be easier achieved in Scotland where wild camping is permitted and I have to say I am unsure of how this would work in other countries. But, the idea is to set up a little camp somewhere, this doesn’t have to be a tent, it can be as simple as throwing a tarp up to provide some cover and give you a place to sit out of the elements.
Some people will have a small day camp where the idea is to be amongst nature and relax, so they will take a book or simply laze around listening to sounds that are created by nature such as water flowing from nearby rivers or streams, the birds singing in the trees or the rustling of leaves. Other like to take some food out to cook al fresco and enjoy in the outdoors. Anything from heating through some soup to making a full-blown meal on a camping stove or fire if these are permitted in the area.
If day camping as a family you may want to set up camp before going off a walk or exploring the surrounding area for nature and/or wildlife. Show the kids how to build a den using fallen branches and sticks.
And, at the end of the day, you can simply pack up and head home to the warmth and comfort of your own house and your own bed, hopefully, tired from an exciting days adventure.
What are you waiting for, Get Outside!
Now is the time to start planning some outdoor adventures for you and/or the family over the coming months. All the activities above can be done for free providing you have the right clothes and equipment. Having fun doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, you simply need to know how to get the information you need and use it wisely, with a little imagination to make getting outside during autumn and winter fun and free. You never know, you may even discover more things to hold your interest or to fall in love with.
We are sure by making the most of the sunlight hours during these months you will remain both physically and mentally healthier and happier than if you were to lay about the house watching the next available box set on TV.
So get outside and enjoy yourself and nature.