I noticed a rare Saturday with nothing planned on my calendar approximately ten years ago. My wife and children would be gone, and I would be behind on my work. I asked a buddy of mine, Ryan Fagan, a coworker at Sporting News, to take me on a day trip because he was always telling wonderful stories about his outdoor adventures.
That day transformed my life because he agreed.
He picked me up early in the morning and we spent the day hiking and fishing in Linville Gorge, North Carolina, which I now know is one of the most challenging spots on the East Coast. I might not have gone if I had known how difficult it would be. I came dangerously close to breaking myself a half-dozen times. But I made it.
Fagan pushed and dragged me so far beyond my comfort zone that I spent the entire day high on endorphins. On our way home, we stopped at a petrol station. When I went for a Coke from the cooler, it occurred to me that I had not thought about work all day, which was incredible given that we were coworkers and frequently discussed workplace politics or our personal lives.
However, on this particular day, our attention was drawn to the environment. We were where our feet were, to quote Scott M. O’Neil’s book title. I grabbed the Coke, shut the cooler, and turned around to tell Ryan I hadn’t given work a second thought all day.
“Do you see why I spend so much time doing this?” he stated
That’s exactly what I did. He has since been my outdoor mentor. I’ve spent as much time outside as I can, initially with him and then on my own.
I’ve become a regular hiker and cyclist, and I believe that everyone should attempt every outdoor activity at least once.
I want to share my love of the outdoors with you, just as Fagan wants to share his with me. I want you to receive a taste of what I have in the outdoors, even if it’s only a small taste.
I could write a hundred stories about how fantastic I feel after a long trek or bike ride, or chat for hours about how many great ideas I have deep in the woods. But that’s simply my opinion based on my own personal experience.
The science of health and the outdoors should convince you to turn off your computer and walk outside, where you can bask in the sun or let the rain wash away your worries.
1) Find Locals Who Share Your Interests.
There will be groups of people in almost every city who wish to share their interests. They’re simple to locate. Look on Facebook, online message boards, and even the old-fashioned paper-and-tack message boards in coffee shops. “Local clubs on Meetup.com and other social networking sites organize walks and outdoor events,” says Jason Bocarro, a professor in North Carolina State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management.
“They can also be specialized,” says the author (based on gender, age, beginner). This gives you the chance to meet new people while enjoying being outside, and many walks are pre-planned, so there’s no need to plan ahead.”
2) Take a Stroll.
Ginny Yurich, who manages 1000 Hours Outside with her husband, adds, “That may be a hike at a neighboring nature preserve, a walk around the block, or a stroll around the city.” Their efforts to get us outside and away from our screens have been featured on The Today Show, OutsideOnline.com, and other outlets. “Nature is everywhere, as Scott Sampson says in How to Raise a Wild Child, ‘coming up through the crevices in the sidewalk.’
The sights, sounds, smells, and textures of nature will greet you no matter where you are if you simply go outside.”
3) Learn About the Locations in Your Neighbourhood.
Kyle Rich, assistant professor in Brock University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in St. Catharines, Ontario, believes that “no matter where you reside, your city is likely to include parks, trails, beaches, or other outdoor amenities.” “Unfortunately, if these areas aren’t part of our daily routines, we tend to neglect them.”
Look for recreational opportunities and resources in your area (e.g., websites, leisure guides, community organization directories, etc.). These are frequently created with the goal of connecting people to a variety of local possibilities.
Then, even if it means going out of your way, make it a point to visit a new place or interact with a new group. You never know where you’ll find your new habit, pique your curiosity, or fall in love with a place.”
4) Try Your Hand at Outdoor Photography.
This is according to Tara Schatz, a blogger at Back Road Ramblers, whose “aim is to help individuals connect with the world and each other by stepping out of their front doors and embarking on small and large trips.
Isn’t it true that you’ll bring your phone with you regardless? “Just for fun,” Schatz recalls, “during the epidemic, I challenged myself to capture a different style of outdoor shot every day and then share it with my friends and family.”
“I took photos of flowers in my garden, as well as lovely sunsets and waterfalls.” My images had improved substantially after a month of taking shots, and I had a new respect for the beauty of the natural world. Photography is also a fantastic method to express yourself and discover new areas.”
5) Carry Out Activities From the Inside-Outside.
“Asking yourself throughout the day if what you’re doing indoors might be done outside is a good start,” says Rich Christiana, an associate professor in Appalachian State University’s department of health and exercise science.
“There are a lot of fantastic options to spend more time outside while working, such as attending Zoom meetings outside, having in-person ‘walking meetings’ on the local greenway or outdoor track, or eating lunch or a snack break outside.” Of course, many exercises that may be done indoors can also be done outside.”
The Health Advantages:
Vitamin D is necessary for bones, blood cells, and the immune system, and it is increased by exposure to the sun. The benefits can be obtained in as little as five to fifteen minutes, two or three times per week, according to WebMD.
“Being outside actually boosts the grey matter volume in the right dorsolateral–prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is a portion of the brain connected with executive skills including working memory, planning, and selective attention,” according to Bicycling.
According to Cornell University researchers, as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can assist college students to reduce physical and emotional stress. Even if the pupils only sat on a park bench, they reaped the benefits. Similar findings were reached in research published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research.
There are as many ways to develop an interest in the outdoors as there are people who share it. If you don’t have a friend like Ryan to help you get started, how do you get started? I sought advice from specialists.