After a year of homeschooling, money worries and endless Zoom meetings, most of us have nothing good to say about living through a pandemic. However, one positive thing we learned during 2020 was the importance of being outdoors, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Spending more time in the open air has opened our eyes to the natural world and helped us appreciate the benefits of outdoor living. COVID-19's impact on outdoor recreation was apparent almost as soon as the pandemic started, when for many of us a walk or run outdoors became the high point of the day. 36%-46% of people who responded to a Natural England survey between May and July 2020 said they were spending more time outside due to the pandemic. Nine out of ten people taking part in the survey also agreed that natural spaces are good for health and wellbeing.
Why are outdoor spaces so important?
Studies show that outdoor physical activity lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, while research recently carried out in Japan demonstrates that being outside can cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 15%. The importance of outside space has also been highlighted by the mental health charity Mind, who claim outdoor activity can help with conditions such as depression and anxiety as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which some experts believe is caused by sensitivity to natural light.
Recognising the benefits of outdoor spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic has fed into a growing awareness of nature and the vital role it can play in our health and wellbeing.
The wellbeing exodus
This month Rightmove has reported a 26% increase in rental searches for properties with a garden (figures compared with April 2020), showing that home-movers have begun to appreciate the mental and physical benefits of outdoor living spaces. This comes as no surprise to us, as for some time now we have seen an increase in enquiries from home-movers eager to buy or rent a property in Surrey. With nineteen top-rated open green spaces - including areas of outstanding natural beauty - Surrey is the perfect location for city workers seeking a short commute into London. If you would like help to find your ideal rental property, our Lettings Department will be happy to assist. If you are planning to buy or rent a home in Surrey, simply contact one of our local offices to discuss your plans with us.