Why going wild is good for your heart

The Good Life Letter 

10th August 2018

  • If your hands are sore, sweaty, chapped and chaffed, I’ve got just the thing
  • For the first time ever, research shows the clear physical benefit of going outside
  • Why going wild and finding your inner child is good for your heart
Before I crack on with today’s letter, I just wanted to quickly clear something up…

...and that’s your hands.

I don’t know about you, but it’s not just winter that can play havoc with my skin.

In summer, it’s the heat, sweat and all that outdoor activity that can cause rashes, irritation and abrasions.

This is especially true when you have been working in the garden and your hands have either taken a battering or been sweating in a pair of thick gardening gloves.

While I can’t stop the damage being done to your hands, I can offer some respite and at a hefty discount.
I’ve got hold of a few (and I mean FEW) pots of hand recovery cream from Napier’s of Edinburgh.

This is really wonderful stuff. Rich in plant oils, it rescues rough, dehydrated, out of condition hands, nails and cuticles.

Your hands will feel smooth and smell fantastic too.

Better still, I’ve negotiated a special 20% discount which means you can get a 100ml jar for just £8.75.
If you’re interested in grabbing one of these, please click here to order.

Please bear in mind that I only have a few jars, so they are available on a first come, first served basis.
Talking of being outdoors in summer…

While your hands might get sweaty (never mind other parts of your body that I won’t mention) there are some wonderful benefits to making the most of the summer.

Backed up by new science, too…

For the first time ever, research shows the clear physical benefit of going outside

According to a new study at the University of East Anglia, published in the journal Environmental Research, spending more time outdoors, closer to nature, has a strong link to your physical wellbeing.

This includes:

  • reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • reducing the risk of premature death

  • lowering high blood pressure.

The study was based on data from 290 million people and 140 other studies, across a range of countries including the UK.

Lead author, Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett said, “Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood.”

She added that people living closer to nature “had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. In fact, one of the really interesting things we found is that exposure to green space significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol – a physiological marker of stress.”

This is interesting because we all presume it’s good to get out into the countryside simply because it’s psychologically pleasant.

But we underestimate how connected our physical wellbeing is to our mental wellbeing.

What’s more, the scientists behind the study speculate on reasons for the link…

“People living near green space likely have more opportunities for physical activity and socialising.”

It’s also suggested that being outdoors exposes you to a variety of bacteria which help boost the immune system.
Of course, we don’t all live in the countryside or directly near wide green spaces…


Wild spaces are everywhere, if you look hard enough

You’d be surprised at how many wonderful places there are near – or within – our cities and towns… from nature reserves, canals and ponds, to parks.

I told you last year about my friend who started to walk in East London’s industrial Lea Valley, where there are marshes, canals, and derelict water systems-turned nature reserves, and got a whole new lease of life…

Well, it could be worth seeking out these hidden pockets of wild nature, or abandoned wasteland, near you.

To give you an example, I was visiting Warwick recently and I discovered a nature reserve at the side of the Tesco car park! It was weird that it lay hidden there, on the site of a former power station, full of birds and wildflowers.

Makes you think about what treasures may lie near you!

For more examples of urban wildernesses, take a look at this article in the Guardian: Urban oases and hidden gardens: 10 of Britain’s best green spaces

Getting outdoor therapy could be as simple as taking a regular weekend walk in these kinds of places… going bird spotting… taking a decent camera for some photography… doing a watercolour… picking blackberries… or just going out to explore.

Find your inner child!

And this is important…

Why going wild is good for your heart

As we get older we abandon the idea of going exploring, or ‘playing’ somewhere strange and new for a few hours. We don’t get muddy or dirty. We don’t scuff our knees or plunge our hands into ooze. We don’t climb trees or smell the cut grass and cow dung! We don’t swim in ponds and lakes.

Instead we spend our time in sanitised shopping centres and supermarkets, car parks and motorways, houses, pubs and restaurants.

It’s a shame…

Sometimes we need to get grubby and wild!

It reminds me of something an experienced naturopath once said to me…

“Try and touch something natural every day.”

By that she meant that you should feel grass beneath your toes, rub your hands over some parkland, pick a berry, gather some wild herbs.

Rather than hippy nonsense which some people might think, it seems that there’s now scientific evidence that this kind of activity could extend your life.

But more importantly it could give you a new sense of adventure and put you in touch with poor old neglected mother nature.

If regular outdoor activity is something you do for your wellbeing, then do write and let me know about it.

Oh, and if you want some wonderful natural cream to restore your hands after a day grubbing around in the wild, pick one up here: Hand Rescue 

Yours, as always




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