Use your senses to feel better

Cold water swimming

Where all my senses come alive!


It’s not for everyone but for me it’s the most exhilarating life affirming experience. I began in 2020 along with several other outdoor life affirming activities that are now an integral part of my life. Prior to the COVID 19 lockdowns and restrictions, all of these life affirming outdoor activities I had only pursued in doors. Like so many people, I was forced to rethink how I was going to thrive when so much of what I once took for granted, was gone.


What I came to realise was how much, of so much of my life, was lived in a contrived, limited and sense deprived environment.


Living had become an unconscious habit

Without realising, I was taking the line of least resistance in terms of comfort, familiarity and ease. However, humanity did not evolve to be what it is today through comfort, familiarity and ease. The human evolutionary journey involved the constant use of its senses for tracking and hunting, assessing danger which involved experiencing environmental extremes and repeated physical challenges to survive.

Indoor living ~ not our natural habitat

I now realise how limiting my indoor health enhancing activities were, in terms of my ability to thrive. The experiences were muffled, duller and restricted in comparison to how I live now. I am not decrying indoor facilities as a tool to invest in your health and fitness. They are a vital and convenient commodity for many and it must also be said that cold water swimming is definitely not for everyone in terms of its appeal, appropriateness or safety.


However, if the function of our senses is interrupted, it can limit our ability to interact with our immediate environment and the world around us. This in turn makes it harder for our body to function normally. Those of you who experience a lack of smell, poor hearing or visual impairment know full well, how this negatively impacts on your health and how you live.

Use your senses to feel better

Our five main senses include smell, touch, sound, taste and sight. However, there are other senses that impact upon us including temperature, the position our body and limbs are in, pain and of course our “sixth sense”.


Therefore, it stands to reason and scientific evidence (look up Professor Charles Spence at University of Oxford) that if our senses are DELIBERATELY stimulated and utilised, then this could positively impact our health and the way we live.


So apart from my cold water weekly swims, my Simply Fit! programme and my choir have also relocated to the great outdoors. In addition I now begin each day with a 30 minute walk in the dark, where all my senses are on red alert.


Multi sensory environments

With all these life enhancing activities, I have observed how enlightening the stimulating effect has been on my senses. In fact the “experience” of each of these events has been so much more than the sum of its parts.

These activities have become multi sensory environments for my entire body. I have a deeper connection and sense of nourishment with the whole of me, in a way I was unaware was even possible.


I am fully aware that many of you reading this are already nature loving outdoor folk like me, and do spend time in the great outdoors to nourish and replenish yourselves. That said, in this western, device driven sensory reduced world, it’s still LESS THAN THAT OF OUR FORBEARERS or even our younger selves.


Like me, you too may not have recognised where you have slipped into a habit of being in side more, unintentionally, but a reality nonetheless

Enhancing our lives

What I have done for myself is to maximise my sensory opportunities wherever I can. It is encouraged and acknowledged that babies and toddlers need all their senses stimulated as part of their play for them to learn. However as we move further away from this time in our lives, the encouragement and acknowledgement of its relevance fades.


The long term effect is that we are insidiously nudged into overly warm, passive and muted environments, leaving us more and more disconnected with our true selves. This deprives us of that most basic of survival traits, which is to flourish and thrive.


Rethinking life through your sense

In reading this, take the opportunity to rethink your thinking. Use your senses, the natural in all its forms to make the most of the body you’re in, today.

Confidently move without pain and stiffness, for more of the life you want. 

Physiotherapy through movement

Founded in human evolution

Connect with how you align, breathe and move your whole body, in everything you do.  

There are 6 comments

  1. Ronald William Gibbons Lucas 10th November 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Very thought provoking, Rachel, and even as octogenarians I believe that much about which you explore and write applies to those of us “of a certain age”! Do keep it up.
    Ron x

    1. Rachel Kili 11th November 2021 at 9:12 am

      Dear Ron, Thank you for your thoughts and lovely words.
      It is a very thought provoking subject using your senses to enhance your health. It has given me much to think about too.
      Best wishes

  2. Sue Draper 15th November 2021 at 6:47 am

    Love this message Rachel! Get out there…….get cold….get wet…..get moving…..and wake up and use your senses to see, feel and hear what’s going on around you!
    I do some of this, but there’s room for more! Will do my best!!!

    I have a number of friends around 80 years of age. All lovely and I am very fond of them. I would say that how they are (physically, mentally and emotionally, and how they cope with life and what they can physically do)……………varies enormously!

    One sits at home looking at screens (computer, phone etc) and is lonely and depressed. She walks her dog, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be enough to lift her spirits.

    One is unlucky with her health, but bright and cheerful, and uncomplaining. But not able to do a lot physically.

    The last one cares not a jot about housework, wears her deceased husband’s old clothes ( by her own admission ….looks a shambles!), runs around doing her garden. Has no tv and certainly no screens of any kind. Is fit and healthy, and very agile, and in her own words is “ a batty neighbour and mad as a box of frogs”!

    I fully intend to follow the active and stimulating role model that is my charming and eccentric neighbour. Fit, healthy and fun……that’ll do for me!

    1. Rachel Kili 16th November 2021 at 11:48 am

      Dear Sue,
      This is so lovely to read!
      You are very observant about the choices people make with the circumstances they are faced with. It is wonderful to hear the choices you have chosen to pursue. I’m with you all the way!
      Rachel x

  3. Sheila 26th November 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Very interesting reading Rachel,specially the bit about walking in the dark.I love being outside and bemoan the short day-light hours of winter so I might give it a try.I’ve just got to persuade David that it’s a good idea1
    Best wishes.

    1. Rachel Kili 29th November 2021 at 5:27 pm

      Dear Sheila
      Lovely to hear this was something that resonated with you. I find that walking in the dark takes back some of the day, which might otherwise be lost.
      I hope you too get to experience the joy of walking in the dark!
      Best wishes

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