Discover how the great outdoors is good for both body and mind

09 Sep 2022 Author: VicHealth

Spending time outdoors is great for us. Whether you’re exercising, hanging out with friends or just admiring what’s around you, breathing in the fresh air and getting a hit of Vitamin D gives us a chance to relax, reset and connect. 

We’re big nature fans, so we’ve put together some ideas for getting outside to help you feel better on the inside. Plus, there’s tips on how you can stretch your legs and take in the scenery throughout Victoria, whether you’re with friends or enjoying time to yourself. 


What Are the Benefits of Being in Nature? 

A growing amount of research suggests that spending time in nature is fantastic for your health. It’s wonderful for your body. Plus, there are great   psychological benefits to being in nature. Even a small amount of time immersing in nature can be beneficial for us. 

  • Reduce stress and improve your mental health. More and more research uncovers the benefits of nature on mental health. Even spending just 15 to 20 minutes in a green space can lower stress hormones. 

  • A chance to exercise. Get that double dose of well-being by not only enjoying nature but by exercising while in nature too. Regular exercise is great for our bodies and our minds. It doesn’t have to be complex exercise  either - a simple stroll through the trees or a nature reserve can do wonders for us. 

  • Vitamin D. Getting enough vitamin D is important for your muscles, bones and general health. Soaking up the sunshine is one of the best if not the best natural sources of vitamin D. Find out more about vitamin D, how it can help you and what to keep in mind while being exposed to the sun. 

  • Get to know your local area and discover new places. Victoria has a lot of beautiful areas to explore. Soak up those health benefits of being in nature while experiencing new parks, beaches and trails. 


Tips for Enjoying Nature 

 Whether you live rurally or in a city, Victoria has lots of great opportunities to enjoy nature. 

  • Plan a walk with friends (or by yourself). From hiking to casual strolls, walking is a brilliant way to relax and exercise while enjoying a change of scenery. There’s heaps of great walking trails around Melbourne and throughout Victoria. Use this time to catch up with your mates while you explore Victoria on foot. Prefer to walk solo? Cool. Taking a stroll by yourself gives you the extra freedom to head where you want, when you want. Love walking? Check out our article on the benefits of walking. 

  • Enjoy your local parks. Check out parks in your nearby area as a place to unwind. A great option for hanging with friends, taking time to yourself or relaxing on your lunch break. 

  • Go camping. Savour the outdoors with the many free and paid camping sites spread throughout Victoria. Camping can be a fantastic experience to connect with friends, new people, nature and yourself. 

  • Get on the indoor plants bandwagon. There are a lot of us that live in busy cities without access to a big garden. If you’re missing natural beauty in your neighbourhood - or just want to get more of it - try growing plants indoors or on your balcony if you have one. Gardening Australia have a great in-depth guide and video on growing plants indoors – it’s even presented from an apartment in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Richmond. 

  • Play it smart and be prepared. If you’re planning on heading out for a bit, remember to be safe and smart about what you’re doing and the environment you’re in. Wear sun protection and bring water for when you need it. Healthy snacks are great for keeping up energy and can be fun to share. Victoria can get wet and cold, so pack the appropriate layers. If you’re heading somewhere remote or unusual, inform someone close to you like a friend, parent or carer about where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Also, be aware of local critters – remember, it’s their home too! 

Victoria is filled with ways we can really enjoy nature. Keen to ride through Melbourne’s bike paths? Do you prefer long walks on the beach? Or is it the exciting wilderness that does it for you? Whatever part of nature tickles your fancy, take the time to enjoy it. You deserve it. Your body and your head will appreciate it, too. 

Categories: Being active