This National Bird Day Celebrate by Birdwatching for Good Health
6 minute read
National Bird Day is a day of celebrating birds, but you can also make it a day to celebrate you. Birdwatching, also called birding, is more than a hobby in that it has been shown to boost health and happiness levels.
More than an aesthetic treat and an opportunity to learn, birdwatching promotes physical and mental well-being and will have you looking towards the skies every day. Here are the reasons why celebrating birds is good for everyone.
Benefits of Birding
Beyond learning about the countless species of birds on our planet, birdwatching gets you out of the house, moving around, and spending some time with yourself. Any exercise, even that as light as walking around looking for birds, is beneficial to your health, as is being outdoors.
In addition to this, spending some quiet time alone offers you some much-needed peace, which can promote mental and physical health.
National Bird Day can be the starting point for your new adventure, but with the many benefits to birdwatching, you will surely be taking this hobby to the next level. Before you know it, it will be a part of your regular lifestyle, contributing to your health and happiness.
Patience and Acceptance
Birdwatching puts you in situations that teach patience and acceptance, both of which are necessary components of maintaining healthy relationships in life. Birdwatching does not deliver instant gratification—you have to put some effort in to get the rewards.
Many situations in your professional and personal life require patience, and birdwatching can help you develop this. You can earn the outcome you desire and also accept the things you cannot change.
Bad weather, for example, is often a bane of birdwatchers and spoils many plans, but through acceptance you move on and wait patiently for your next moment.
Life can bring you stress, anxiety, and even depression. Much of this comes from the parts of life we cannot control. We can, however, control our focus. By being more present in the moment (the central idea of meditation), we worry less and develop a stronger resilience to stress.
Birdwatching give you plenty of alone time for you to focus your thoughts towards relaxation and reflection. In this way birdwatching can be seen as a form of meditation, helping you to turn your thoughts inwards and away from the past and future that cause your stress.
Birdwatching also removes you from the daily distractions of life, such as technology, that can become overwhelming or dangerously addictive. You may be surprised at the power of the health benefits of even a little meditation.
Fresh Air and Sunshine
Birdwatching gets you outside and away from the office or home. Everyone deserves a little break, and this is the perfect excuse to step outside every now and then. Fresh air and sunshine do wonders for your mood and your physical health.
The sun’s rays help to trigger the production of vitamin D in your body, which is essential for bone and muscle health. It also stimulates production of the hormone serotonin, which is known as the happy hormone.
Studies have found that increased exposure to sunlight (within reason and with protection from UV rays) leads to elevated moods and increased productivity. Taking a break during your busy day to watch the local birds will relax you and motivate you for a productive finish to your day.
Birdwatching requires attention and sharp reflexes. Birds are skittish by nature and can appear one moment just to be gone the next. You need patience to wait for them and keen attention skills to capture them in their element.
The attention to detail and focus of birdwatching exercises the parts of your brain for concentration and gives you a cognitive boost in this area. In addition to this, the skills needed to act quickly and capture a picture of a bird before it darts off again help you to perfect your reflexes.
Many bird watchers will walk for miles to find that elusive photograph or to find that one species that evades human contact. In doing so, this pastime keeps you moving.
Regular exercise is essential for overall health and well-being, and walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do for your heart. Walking is gentle on your system but gets the circulation going and the muscles working.
If the idea of going for a walk bores you, take up birdwatching and give that walk a purpose. You can entertain your mind while exercising. In the end your heart will be stronger, your mind, sharper, and it won’t even feel like exercise.
| Related: 10 Simple Ways to Make Walking More Fun |
Studies have found that travelling increases longevity, and nothing gets you out and about more than birdwatching. There are places in the world, particularly islands, that play home to the most beautiful and exotic birds you will ever see.
You go to see the birds but also get to enjoy new cultures, new scenes, and a new life. Travelling to new places relieves stress which helps promote longevity and well-being. You also end up walking more as you explore new worlds, which benefits your heart health.
The Bottom Line
National Bird Day could be the start of the rest of your life. Not only can you learn a new hobby and enjoy the beauty that nature provides, but your health can benefit too.
Birdwatching can give you access to new worlds and to a new and healthier you. Grab some binoculars and join the bird watchers outside for National Bird Day and beyond.