January is a month of making changes, feeling a bit sluggish after the excesses of the holiday period and payday being a long way off! It’s a new year and many people make resolutions to be healthy, happier and fitter. Apparently though, yesterday was the day most people would fail in these resolutions and this got me thinking….

I went for an early dog walk this morning and it was a beautiful, sunny and crisp morning. I came back with a smile on my face, a happy dog and feeling content. This feeling got me thinking about WHY I felt so happy and content and how I could perhaps share this with you….

Growing up, my happiest memories are of playing outside, climbing trees, making dams in the stream, making snow caves (the one year we had loads of snow!), imagining fairies in the trees and generally being outside. This feeling does not go away when we grow up although I think we forget it. It’s no coincidence that Forest schools have become so popular in the past ten years in the Early Years sector. The adults want their children to experience what they had as children and well, it’s just better for children to be and learn from being, outside. There are numerous studies to prove this. I was reading an article on “Forest Bathing” in Japan this week which was exactly what I am talking about here. It literally means taking in the forest atmosphere. Being outside and enjoying the natural world not only reduces stress but improves our memory and lowers blood pressure.

But we all knew that right? We don’t need an initiative or a new phrase to tell us that do we? Just think back to your earliest and happiest memory and I think you will find the outdoors is there.

So, get outside! A walk in your lunch break, a long ramble on a Sunday or a trip to the park with the children has got to be better than sitting in our digital bubble or watching TV. It’s obvious. It’s free. It makes us fitter. It makes us happier.Enjoy!