There are many incredible benefits to spending time in the outdoors.
Whether hiking a mountain trail, kayaking a scenic creek, or fishing a trout honey hole, spending time in the great outdoors can offer unlimited benefits to your general well-being. Some of which you may never have even considered before. However, you'll notice the positive effects once you start dedicating more time towards being outside every week.
Even if you're working up a sweat to reach a summit or logging miles spotting and stalking through tough terrain, nothing will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed than a few hours spent outside. Some people who don't consider themselves "outdoorsy" would rather sit inside staring at a screen, but they're really missing out.
Honestly, we feel bad for anyone who doesn't like the outdoors. Case in point, here are eight things people who insist on staying indoors are giving up.
Spending a couple hours outside each week can do wonders for your health. Researchers have discovered that just two hours every seven days — whether in one solid block or spread throughout — can increase endorphin levels, dopamine production, and vitamin D levels. A stroll through the streets or woods can also reduce stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety. People who hit this two hour quota can lower their blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels plus get better sleep at night. A little exercise in the fresh air will truly boost your mood and immune system, no pills required. In a time when illness is running rampant, taking advantage of some free natural "medicine" is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy.
Productivity & Concentration Boost
In addition to improving general health, heading outside can also benefit your brain. Regular outdoor activity can keep you mentally sharp, and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's. It can also improve focus, and spark creativity. While it's great for a long-term brain boost, moving with Mother Nature is also a great way to relieve a case of writer's block or trigger new innovative ideas. If you're struggling to concentrate on work and stay productive, take a brief walking break outside for an instant refresh.
If you've ever overlooked the Grand Canyon or stood on top of Havasu Falls, you know pictures just can't do these amazing sights any justice. From beautiful beaches to glistening glacial lakes to sprawling mountain ranges, opportunities abound to witness Mother Nature's best. If you're new to the world of outdoor exploring, check out some national parks or state parks near you to get started.
Along those same lines, when you experience these unbelievable views and breathtaking sights, you'll gain a greater appreciation for the world around you. Seeing just how vast earth is puts life into perspective and can make the small troubles you've been stressing over seem trivial.
As anyone spends more and more time outside, they inevitably pick up useful skills and knowledge. Campers learn to pitch a tent, start a fire, cook over an open flame, locate water, and stay safe from predators. Backpackers can read maps, follow a compass, identify venomous snakes, and spot safe-to-eat plant life. Hooking a bass, tying a knot, sharpening a knife, stringing a bow — the skills you learn in the great outdoors can serve you for a lifetime, and you never know when they'll come in handy or even save your life.
There are so many fun, life-changing activities you'll miss out on if you refuse to go outside. You can't enjoy water sports or snow sports from the couch, and pedaling a Peloton can't compare to mountain biking surrounded by fall foliage. Hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing are great forms of outdoor exercise. Activities like fishing and hunting offer hours of heart-pounding excitement. Animal lovers can watch wildlife in their natural habitats and snag awesome photos. And geocaching is a great activity for the whole family that lets you combine that love for technology with the outdoors. You can also make some awesome new friends in the niche communities that enjoy these hobbies.
Spending time outside can also help you cut your grocery bill down. Big-game hunting can supply meat for months, and fishing for a fresh catch can keep you reaping the benefits of omega-3-packed seafood all season long. You can also forage for a variety of wild mushrooms, berries, herbs, nuts, and more. Just be sure to study carefully to ensure what you're eating is safe. These fresh from the wild foods are usually free of any kind of pesticides and chemicals, so they're not only thrifty but healthier than store bought.
Some of my greatest memories include hunting and fishing with my family or exploring new trails with friends. There's no better way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with loved ones than heading outside. When there are no distractions from the outside world, it's much easier to deepen those relationships and create lasting memories. Leave your phones behind, turn them off, or keep them in airplane mode to stay in the moment and avoid interruption.
Even if you wouldn't consider yourself "outdoorsy" per se, there's still bound to be an outside activity you can enjoy to reap the many benefits of Mother Nature. Perch up in a hammock and read your favorite novel or take a sun-soaked snooze. Take a leisurely stroll with your dog. Or simply move a meeting outside. Everyday is a great opportunity to take advantage of all the great outdoors have to offer. Trust us, you won't regret it. In fact, you may wonder why you waited so long.
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