6 Reasons to Get Outdoors
With National Get Outdoors Day being tomorrow, it has gotten me thinking about the excuses we use for not getting outdoors and the benefits that result from when we actually do #GetOut and #DoMore. Everyone knows they need to be more active. Let's face it, you can't turn on the TV, scroll through Facebook or drive down the road without seeing or hearing a reminder about getting in shape. We also know the overall health benefits that come from exercise and activity: live longer, avoid health problems.
So, why do we continually put off getting outdoors, especially after we complain about wanting to get out and do more stuff? Top excuses for this range from not having the time and financial woes to being too tired or not having someone to join along. Read on for six great reasons for you to cut the excuses and get outdoors today!
1. It's Good for You
Like, nah duh, right? As I mentioned above, we all know that exercise is good for you, but what does it actually do? Aside from the obvious reason of weight loss or control, exercise also helps improve your mood by stimulating brain chemicals, such as endorphins, that may leave you feeling happier and less stressed according to the Mayo Clinic.
Also, exercise can increase your energy. Sounds a bit backwards, but it's true. When a person exercises regularly, they are improving their cardiovascular system and helping it work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs are operating efficiently, it leaves you more energy to do more things in your day. In tune with this is that exercise also improves your sleep, helping you fall asleep faster and deeper. A good night's rest can also promote more energy.
Lastly, exercise improves your overall health in the long term. According to studies, physical activity helps decrease the risk of developing Congenital Heart Defect, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, as well as improving your cognitive functions.
Take a walk around the block, find a nice forest trail or take a brisk jog down the county road to begin realizing the health benefits from exercising.
2. It's Cheap (or Can Be)
Getting outdoors can be as cheap as "free". Granted you won't be flying down a mountain path on a top of the line mountain bike or screaming down a rapid in a high end kayak on the "free" budget, but if you haven't been exercising regularly you probably aren't physically ready for those activities just yet anyways.
Getting outdoors can be as simple as lacing up the tennis shoes and going for a hike in a local park. The only thing that will cost you is your time, and maybe a minimal parking fee. Focus on activities you already own the gear for, such as day hiking, running, biking or fishing. Most of these activities can be performed in your local community for free or for a minimal fee for park admission and licenses.
If you find that you might enjoy kayaking, mountain biking or some other outdoor sport, you can always save your money to buy the beginning pieces for those activities. My recommendation would be to find a friend who already does the activity you're interested in and ask them to take you out some weekend. This will help you familiarize yourself with the equipment involved and allow you to see if you actually enjoy it before you lay down some potentially big bucks.
3. Sun Is Good
Another health benefit of getting outdoors is exposure to the sun. Benefits received from sun exposure are similar to that of exercise being a better night's rest and enhancing your mood. Additionally, sun exposure can also boost your body's vitamin D supply which has been shown to help promote bone growth and prevent illnesses. Just be sure to wear your sunscreen.
4. It's Fun
Getting outdoors is just plain fun. Whether it's hiking a new trail, going fishing or discovering new areas to explore your sure to spark that pioneer spirit nestled deep within. Venturing outside the four walls of your home will awaken that sense of adventure and exploration within you. Even if you live in a big city, there's something to be said about walking around the block and discovering something new, whether it's a new restaurant, used book store or a hidden park. Even a jog down a well-known trail or road has yielded surprises for me before, which are always fun.
Don't be discouraged if you have an outing that turns out to be a "disaster". "Disasters" are just stories you haven't sat back and reminisced over, yet, which then eventually become some of the funniest tales to be told. After this, even with everything that went wrong, you realize you still had a pretty fun time.
5. The Experiences Are Priceless
Out of all the things my kids randomly say, the times they ask, "Do you remember when..." are almost always about things we have done outside. Very rarely, if ever, will they mention remembering a TV show we watched at a home or a movie we went to see. They always say, "You remember that time we went hiking and got lost and then it rained and you had to carry us out of there." Yeah, that was one of those "disasters" mentioned above, but it turned out to be a great time for all of us despite everything that went wrong that day. We look back on it as a fond memory now.
When you venture outside, you're inviting the unexpected to take place which is always an adventure.
6. You'll Have A Story To Tell
We all have those friends that always seem to have the coolest pictures on their Facebook wall or Instagram page with the most awesome stories to go with them. They didn't get those pictures and stories from just sitting at home, though. They had to turn off the TV (this is what DVR's are for) and get out.
Like the event that happened to my family above when my kids swear we got lost (which we weren't; I knew exactly where we almost were), you can begin to write your own family story full of adventure and excitement and good laughs. Also, you'll have some pretty stinkin' awesome pictures to post to Facebook and Instagram to make everyone envious of. Score.
Bonus: Meet New People
I'm adding this bonus item to the list, because it's something that can very well happen when you venture outdoors. Whether it's striking up conversations with individuals you meet on a hiking trail, or chatting with another person fishing the same area you are, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new and interesting people.
If you don't really have a group of people to exercise with, you can always check to see if there are local groups you can join. One particular group in my area is the "Strong Okie Momma's" Facebook group. This private group, which my wife is a member of, is for women across Oklahoma to coordinate workouts and runs and help provide a safe environment to do so. Check to see if similar groups exist in your area, and if not, create one yourself!
I hope you enjoyed the above reasons to get outdoors, and I hope you take full advantage of those available times to do so. If you have a favorite reason for getting outdoors or would like to share a story from a recent outing, please comment below, post to our Facebook page or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you!