Though the act is rewarding in and of itself, spending time in nature is good for our muscles, hearts, and spirits. When you’re outside, it’s easier to be physically active, your mood improves, your stress levels decrease, and you can connect with the world around you. Here are a few reasons why you should get outside, as well as a few tips to help you get started:
Spending more time outside is highly beneficial for your physical health. While your body will thank you for exercise whether it’s at the gym or on the hiking trail, being surrounded by nature can make it a lot more fun. Many outdoor activities involve exercise, which can help prevent a host of diseases, from diabetes to varicose veins. It can even help strengthen your bones!
Even small amounts of exercise can provide these benefits. You don’t have to begin an intense new hobby to incorporate regular exercise in your life. Start off with easy and enjoyable activities, like walking around your neighborhood or playing fetch with your dog. As you get more accustomed to physical activity outdoors, you can try new things, such as doing yoga in the park or going on a bike ride.
Nature does wonders for your mental and emotional health too. According to a study conducted by the University of Derby in England, those who spent more time in nature “have sustained increases in happiness, health, connection to nature and pro-nature behaviours.” In addition, spending time in nature can reduce stress, a huge factor in maintaining overall health.
Be sure to silence your phone before you go outside. Hearing constant notifications from your phone can make you more stressed and distract you from enjoying nature. Focus on appreciating the world around you and don’t worry about any incoming messages, calls, or emails. Use this time to meditate or forest bathe, both of which can clear your mind and boost your mood.
How to Get and Stay Outside
There are a multitude of ways to get outside, so figure out what works for you. If you don’t like to run, don’t take up running! Go for a bike ride or take a walk instead. The point of spending time in nature is to enrich and improve your life. If you do activities that you don’t like, you won’t be outdoors very much. Here are a few ideas you can try out:
- If you live close enough to your office, start biking to work. Bike through parks or on the greenbelt if your town has one. This is a practical option to keep you committed to your goals.
- Plan your vacations around spending time in nature. Camping is an affordable way to experience some of the most beautiful areas in the world. Consider an eco-friendly RV to facilitate comfortable camping weekends.
- Try new activities to keep yourself engaged. As relaxing and fun as they can be, it’s easy to get bored of the same old routine. If you lose motivation to go on your morning walk, head on a hike at the end of the day to watch the sunset.
- Prioritize it! Set aside time each day or week to devote to being outdoors. It’s easy to compromise on or forget about this time if you don’t include it in your schedule. Even if you have to block it out in your Google Calendar or write it down in your planner, it’s worth it to get into the habit.
- Adapt your activity to the weather. In the cold months of winter, you may be tempted to make an excuse to avoid heading out. Instead of a walk in the park, plan a day of snowshoeing. If it’s warm, head to a beach or lake to go swimming or kayaking.
- Call one of your friends and ask them to go for a hike, bike ride, or do some outdoor yoga. Have them hold you accountable and only cancel your plans if something truly important comes up.
Bolster positivity and health in your life by prioritizing time spent outside and trying new activities. Don’t be afraid of trying new things to find what works best for you. Spending time in nature isn’t the only way to live a healthy life and improve your physical and mental well-being, but it is a pleasant way to do so.