Lockdown brings on love of the outdoors

Hidden magic: Mina and her father like looking for trolls – mythical Norwegian creatures. © Lars Petter Skillestad

Should we spend more time outside? After months of lockdown, we have a new appreciation of the outdoors. Research shows that learning to love nature could improve life in unexpected ways.

What’s happening

Mina was a born explorer. When she was two, she and her father took a 57-day trek. Now, aged four, she has spent 300 nights in a tent.

Mina is from Norway. There, hiking, camping and fishing are very popular activities. The lifestyle is so loved that Norwegians have a name for it: “outdoor living”.

Find out more

Now, the craze is spreading around the world. Shops in the UK have sold out of camping equipment. Bicycle sales have increased across Europe. Usually unpopular American hiking trails are being used again.

The reason? Lockdown. During the months of being cooped up indoors, people have made the most of getting out in nature.

According to one study, around 60% of adults and children in Scotland said they were spending more time outside than they did before the lockdown.

Connecting with nature affects our whole bodies. Experts have found that even the simplest things can be good for us; the sound of birdsong makes us less stressed, and the smell of earth after rain improves our mood.

Should we spend more time outside?

Some say…

Yes! Learning to appreciate nature is important for several reasons. It improves our mental and physical health. Taking exercise outdoors keeps us active as well as improving our mood. Also, by spending time outside, we can learn more about the natural world. This helps us understand problems like climate change and see how it affects us.

Others think…

Not everybody can spend so much time outdoors. It is much simpler for people who live in the countryside. For many, it is not always easy to find an outdoor space to enjoy. If we want to appreciate nature, we have to find ways of bringing it indoors. Growing plants at home is one exciting way to watch nature in progress.

You Decide

  1. Do you prefer doing exercise indoors or outdoors?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are joining Mina and her father on a 57-day camping trip. Write a packing list of everything you would need to take with you.

Some People Say...

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!”

A Norwegian saying

What do you think?

Word Watch

Trek
A long and often difficult walk. Treks often last many days.
Outdoor living
The Norwegian word is Friluftsliv. It literally means “open-air life” and it is pronounced “free-luftz-leev”.
Equipment
Things that are used for a particular activity. Camping equipment includes a tent and a sleeping bag.
Trails
Long paths that run through mountains, forests and large national parks.
Cooped up
To be kept inside a building or small space for a long period of time. A coop is the name for a pen where chickens are kept.
Smell
This earthy scent has its own name – petrichor. The word comes from two Greek words meaning rock and a special fluid that flows through the veins of ancient Greek Gods.

Subjects

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