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OUTDOOR STATE OF MIND:


Whether scaling new heights or heading out on an expedition, we feel our most alive when outdoors. But being outside is not just about challenging ourselves physically, it’s about how we feel doing it. From the euphoria we get pushing ourselves to the max to the quiet stillness of finding ourselves in nature, being outdoors has so much to offer us mentally too. And when we share our passion and our drive, we can achieve even greater things. 

 

So, to help inspire you to get more from the outdoors, we want to give you an insight into our expert’s relationship with it. Here Franklin, Katie, Ben and Kelly tell us what the outdoors means to them and why connections make for more gnarly adventures.  


Franklin

Franklin 

katie

Katie

Ben

Ben

kelly

Kelly


What does the outdoors mean to you?

KATIE: I love the outdoors; I love spending time in the outdoors with my friends. I think it’s a place of peace for me - I can get quite stressed about life and work.  When spending time outdoors, I like to challenge myself by doing activities that help me take my mind off everything. These activities also help me build my confidence and push myself.

 

FRANKLIN: I enjoy getting outdoors to just clear my head. Whether I'm going for a walk alone or going to do a group activity, it’s an escape. Being outdoors, there’s a natural silence that makes me feel at home.

 

BEN: I wouldn’t say everything, but I almost rely on it quite a lot in my everyday life because I’m quite outdoorsy. I play lots of sports, so being outside is my happy place. Whether it’s just walking the dog, playing golf or cricket –I need the outside to do that. I’m always looking to be in the elements and get the best experience.

 

KELLY: The outdoors is such an important part of my life. It's a calming place, you forget about what’s going on, like the rat race of being busy at work, and it just helps me reset. 

What activities do you get up to?

KATIE: I love climbing and do trad climbing with my partner and friends. I love watersports and open water swimming, wild swimming, and just being in the water in general. Just anything where I can challenge myself, so mountain biking, running, trail running…things like that.

 

FRANKLIN: I like to hike. I enjoy exploring new places and meeting new people. I also like being somewhere without a purpose and not having to worry.

 

BEN: As well as sports, I enjoy walking, hiking, anything really, I just want to get out and about and get my hands dirty. I like trail running – woodlands, long rivers, that kind of thing.

 

KELLY: In spring and summer it would be open water swimming, it gives me a sense of freedom and it has minimal impact on the environment. But I also do a lot of coastal running and mountain biking year-round, and in winter I love skiing and just being up in the mountains.


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Have you always been outdoorsy?

KELLY: I’ve always been outdoorsy. I was brought up on a farm, so I could roam the farm as much as I wanted to. I didn’t realise how lucky I was! 

 

BEN: Yeah, I’ve been raised on sport, and I can’t really do it indoors. I was born in Greenwich, with Greenwich Park right on my doorstep, so if I didn’t make the most of that, then what was I doing with my life? It’s one of the most beautiful parks there is. 

 

My dad and brother have always encouraged me to play football, and I think once you get the taste of something outdoors, you want to go on and do more stuff outdoors.

 

KATIE: I didn’t spend a huge amount of time outdoors when I was young, but university opened lots of doors for me. It’s where I joined a society and learnt how to climb, mountain bike and ski. I’d never done any of those activities before, so it taught me all those skills, and I made loads of friends who I still meet up with now, even though we live all over the UK. 

 

FRANKLIN: Through my childhood, I enjoyed outdoor activities and sports, but I didn’t appreciate the outdoors until I would say my early twenties… when I found doing nothing in the outdoors was more calming than doing activities in the outdoors.

What do you get from the outdoors?

BEN: To get that exhilaration from a steep hike or a sprint through the woods, it makes you feel pumped. And at the same time, if you’re doing that in places you admire as well, it’s just the best feeling in the world. 

 

FRANKLIN: I feel more attuned to myself in nature than in the city. I think everyone finds themselves a lot calmer in nature.

 

KELLY: The outdoors is my happy place to de-stress and explore different places. I love going on adventures. There are so many places to see; even when exploring places just around the corner, you find places you never knew existed.  

 

KATIE: The outdoors is a positive space for me. It helps me breathe and gives me some headspace which is massively important. 

 

I really enjoy spending time outdoors with my friends. I love weekends away where we’ll stay in a beautiful place, whether that’s down in Cornwall or the Lakes. We’ll just have a jampacked weekend of watersports or climbing or mountain biking, pushing each other - it’s nice to have that healthy competition.


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Given how important the outdoors is to you how accessible do you think it is?

BEN: I think the outdoors is accessible for everyone, but our perception of the outdoors may need to change. People straight away think mountain ranges, and they may think, oh I can’t do that, but in reality, going to a local park is still getting outdoors. 

 

KELLY: Yes, I think it’s accessible to everyone. Through lockdown, it was nice to see more people being outside and enjoying it. I think it’s important when you have such a busy lifestyle it’s nice to restart and to go outdoors and explore.

 

KATIE: I think some people are more fortunate than others, in that they probably get a better introduction to the outdoors and others are lucky because they live near some of the beautiful landscapes the outdoors has to offer. 

 

When you’re not introduced to the outdoors from a young age, or you don’t live close to the outdoors, it can probably feel quite overwhelming.  You might not know what’s available or what gear you need to go out and enjoy the outdoors.

 

But I think we all have a right to enjoy the outdoors, and we should all do everything we can to make sure people feel safe and welcome and included when it comes to enjoying the outdoors.

Finally, why do you think it’s important to connect with others outdoors?

FRANKLIN: I think it’s good for people to connect and come together to get peoples perspectives on things or even to hear someone’s opinion on your perspective. 

 

To me, it makes more of a difference who you go with rather than where you go. Sometimes I go climbing and meet people out on the wall – getting their advice and tips if they’re more experienced or giving out tips to those less experienced and helping each other belay, it’s just part of the experience.

 

BEN: Meeting new people and experiencing new things is just human, I think. To get out there and talk to someone and get your point across or express a thought feels good. 

 

People learn from one another, especially when they come together for the first time because it's natural to converse and listen to what people have to say. 

 

KATIE: I think in this day and age, a lot of things we do are online, so to some extent, we’ve lost a lot of face-to-face interaction. So, I think it’s important to find ways to connect with other people and have shared experiences. 

 

For me, the outdoors has given me a sense of community, it’s given me friendships and relationships that allow me to challenge myself in a really positive, healthy way, and appreciate the outdoors and everything it has to offer. And I’m really grateful for that.


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5 Ways the Outdoors Boosts Your Mental Health

With our busy schedules it can be tough to find time to get out and enjoy the outdoors every day, but doing so is proven to have a positive impact on our mood. Below we take a look at some of the reasons why:

 

1. Reduces stress – Spending time outside has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormone (cortisol) in our bodies, which leaves us feeling calmer and less stressed.

 

2. Reduces mental fatigue – We live in a world where we’re bombarded with information. Heading outdoors into nature gives our brain a chance to switch off and re-balance, which can help reduce mental fatigue.

 

3. Boosts self-esteem – Studies have found that getting out into natural sunlight can boost our mood and improve our self-esteem.

 

4. A natural high – You’ve heard of a runner's high, right? Well, the thing is, you don’t need to run to get one. This physiological phenomenon occurs when our body releases endorphins during exercise. So if you’re not a runner, give hiking, swimming or cycling in the outdoors a go.

 

5. Enables us to find our tribe – Getting outdoors and meeting like-minded people gives you a chance to meet new people and build your network of friends.  


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