How an Adventure Break Can Improve Mental Health
Outdoor activities and exercise are something that can benefit everybody. They allow us to immerse ourselves in a natural setting, offering us experiences beyond our usual routine.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we believe adventure breaks are something that should be encouraged by all, and for all. Opportunities to try new experiences should be seen as a possibility for everyone, no matter their age or ability. We have been fortunate to witness many positive outcomes in the mental wellbeing of people who attend our residential trips, whether that be for a week or a short break.
It is believed that 1 in 4 people in the UK experiences a mental health problem each year, but disabled people report lower wellbeing levels than non-disabled people (according to these statistics).
It’s only natural that people may see dips in their mental wellbeing. So in this article, we will be focusing on the positive effects of outdoor adventures, and how this type of break can improve mental health, regardless of age or disability.
What Happens During an Adventure Break?
It is important to clarify what an adventure break with us involves. Calvert Trust Exmoor, in particular, is an accessible site which provides a variety of activities, for a range of abilities.
Canoeing, abseiling, cycling, horse-riding and archery are just a few of the activities which are accessible to our residence. We have specialist equipment which may not be commonly available elsewhere, allowing residents the opportunity to experience completely new activities.
Our five-star, fully accessible accommodation is tailored to each visitor, ensuring each guest only has to focus on making the most out of the exciting activities available. With all accessibility needs managed, visitors have the freedom to make friends in a safe environment which encourages them to try new experiences. Our dedicated and qualified instructors remain with the same group of residents throughout the week, forming trusted relationships and building self-confidence.
But how does this help improve mental health?
The Connection Between Physical Health and Mental Happiness
As most of us are aware, there is a positive relationship between the completion of exercise and the improvement of mental wellbeing. Physical activity merged with the outdoors is especially relevant in terms of de-stressing and feeling calm. Adventure breaks combine physical exertion, a safe outdoor environment and specialised support all in one place.
In 2015, the campaign ‘Learning Away’ completed a review on the impact of an adventure residential for children with disabilities. It was reported many children felt the residential helped to improve their confidence. Around 80% of both Key Stage Two and Secondary school children felt they were more self-assured to attempt new things as a consequence of the adventure break. It is understood this was a result of positive feelings when completing activities which challenged social, leadership and learning skills.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on any number of elements that contribute to mental health issues. Research additionally shows that modest amounts of exercise on occasion also lifts our mental wellbeing – especially when done outdoors. We found a HelpGuide article that goes into this topic further.
The activities at Calvert Trust Exmoor naturally contain an element of physical exercise. When exercise is combined with fresh air, teamwork, friendships and a sense of accomplishment we start to understand how adventure breaks can improve mental health.
Feelings of Liberation When Completing Activities
It seems like a basic concept, but if you complete an exercise or activity, it demonstrates to yourself that you are competent. This feeling of competency is an inspiration to attempt other goals because dictating feelings of self-doubt have been overcome and replaced with the feeling of perseverance.
As a result of accomplishing adventure activities, many feel a sense of independence. This could be because we become open to doing activities and exercises that we may not regularly do. An effect of this is a freshly engaged mind and a fresh test of determination.
New activities encourage our guests, especially children, to practise communication and co-ordination skills, which in turn, reassures them to learn and be proud of what they are completing.
The Role of Sportsmanship and Inclusion During Activities
In many sports, and forms of exercise, sportsmanship plays a vital role. When trying new activities on your own, or as a team, adapting your competitive behaviour is a must.
Team events practised at adventure centres encourage participants to work together. The only way to succeed is to communicate efficiently and support other team members, considering each other’s ability and role in the group.
As a result, we see guests form lasting friendships which take into account one another’s diverse backgrounds and life experiences. This social networking is essential to create a sense of belonging, as well as educating them about social inclusion. Completing activities acts as a valuable reminder of effective socialisation and community building to refer back to.
The feeling of social inclusion is another important element in building up our mental wellbeing and health.
Attending an adventure break is an opportunity for us all to experience something beyond what we are familiar with.
For some, it is an avenue to demonstrate they have other talents and skills beyond everyday life, and sparks inspiration or motivation to do other things. For others, the physical exercise of activities provides a physical and mental boost.
Adventure breaks can improve confidence as they validate the success of new activities in a friendly social group. It also acts as a reassurance that learning something new affects everybody, no matter who you are.
It all adds up to contribute to and improve mental wellbeing. Especially when visits to Calvert Trust Exmoor include everything needed for a wonderful break, removing the worries of taking a holiday.
Read our Guest Stories for real-life examples of how adventure breaks have helped improve general wellbeing
See the full Calvert Experience for all the details on accessible adventure breaks at Calvert Trust Exmoor. You can book a stay today by calling 01598 763221.