Saturday, June 9 is National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), and with over 134 official sites across the United States, you should be able to find one in your area. If not, honor the day by exploring a state, national or city park near you.
It’s amazing the difference a little fresh air and movement can make in your life. In fact, I might even credit hiking with starting me on the path to fitness and wellness as a passion and a career. See, I’m a strange combination of non-competitive and perfectionist. I’m uncomfortable trying things I’ve never done before, and have little patience with my own learning curve. I don’t want to do it if I don’t think I can do it well–right away. At the same time, I have almost no competitive spirit. Team sports, races, even board games hold little appeal. But hiking, shoot, even just walking and wandering outside can improve fitness without all that team nonsense. And since I’ve known how to walk for years now, there’s no danger of making a fool out of myself (ok, that’s not true. There’s always some danger of me making a fool of myself, but I’ve let that go). It’s perfect! Plus, now that I’ve got young kids, hiking and camping make for awesome family time.
Don’t just take my word for it. Research is piling up on the benefits of the great outdoors. A few recent findings:
- people who exercise outside move at a faster pace, are less focused on their level of exertion, and feel better while doing it
- taking in beautiful scenery improves mood and a sense of life balance, and reminds us of happy memories
- spending time in nature has been shown to increase immunity and fight depression
We like to camp and hike, but if sleeping on the ground and pooping in the woods don’t appeal to you, there are lots of other ways to get outside:
- take a walk along a lake, river or bike path
- visit a local beach and play a game in the sand (I would hate this one!)
- go for a bike ride (maybe to the local brewery–with your six-year-old–while wearing a backpack to carry the glass jugs you intend to fill with beer–you know who you are)
- play catch at a park or open space
- go fishing or boating
- find an outdoor yoga class
Really, what are you waiting for? Look at all the fun you could be having!
I’m not sure what we have planned for the weekend beyond a couple of baseball games, but I’m sure we’ll get outside at some point. I’d love to hear what you guys do!