Remember when you were a kid and your parents would tell you to go outside and play? They weren’t just trying to get you out of their hair. There are countless benefits to spending time outside, no matter your age. Unfortunately, Americans today spend about 90% of their time indoors, according to a study from the Environmental Protection Agency
Being outside can improve your physical and mental well-being. It helps to improve sleep, can reduce depression, increases your motivation to stay active, and can even boost your immune health.
But, even when you understand the benefits of spending time in nature, it’s not always easy to find the time to do it, right? Thankfully, there are easy activities you can work into your everyday life that will help you get out of the house. The more you start to see the benefits of being outside, the more likely you might be to carve out more dedicated time to being outdoors.
Let’s cover a few of those simple activities that will make it easier to step outside and reap the rewards.
If you want to get the most out of spending time outside, participate in activities that engage you with the environment. Sustainability and eco-friendly living are hot topics of conversation nowadays. Regularly engaging with the environment can help you see why protecting it is so important. Some of the best ways to learn about and connect with nature include:
- Planting a garden;
- Identifying native plants;
Even if you only have a few minutes of free time each day, you can engage with nature and enjoy the benefits. Taking a walk or going for a hike at a local park or reserve can encourage exploration and improve your overall awareness of the world around you — just be sure to prepare for your hike ahead of time.
Find a way to make daily environmental engagement part of your routine. Start your morning with a jog around the neighborhood. Play basketball with your kids each evening. Step out on the porch at night to experience the cool air and listen to the sounds of bullfrogs and fireflies. Even the simplest and most peaceful engagement can make a big difference in how you feel.
Some activities can even be beneficial and educational for the whole family. For example, if you have a long weekend coming up and don’t want to sit around at home, consider a family camping trip. Camping and hiking are fantastic ways to be physically active outdoors, interact with the wild world around you, and teach your kids about the importance of taking care of the environment.
Participating in outdoor activities with your family won’t just benefit your physical and mental health. It’s a great way to improve your familial relationships. These activities will help to foster lifelong bonds between you and your kids. It can also improve your communication as a family, and make it easier to work through things together.
By encouraging a love of nature in your children, you’ll pass on the importance of taking care of the planet to the next generation. Your kids will experience the same mental and physical health benefits as you. They’re likely to be less overwhelmed, less stressed, and more physically active. In today’s society where screen time is taking over and about 35% of American children are experiencing stress-related health issues, being outside could be the natural remedy they need to live happier, healthier lives.
You might be reading this as a city-dweller, wondering what you can possibly do to spend more time in nature when you’re surrounded by an urban jungle. Thankfully, there are plenty of urban outdoor activities you can participate in.
First, look for opportunities to be in nature. Many cities across the country are creating green spaces like parks, community gardens, and public plazas for people to enjoy. These spaces are meant to reduce the effects of pollution and mitigate climate change, but you can take advantage of them, whether it’s going for a walk, packing a picnic, or simply sitting on a park bench and enjoying the sounds around you.
You can also experience nature in the city by:
- Attending local outdoor events;
- Camping in your backyard;
- Scouting for birds and animals;
- Taking up an outdoor sport.
City living might require you to be a bit more creative in your efforts to get out of the house, but the nice thing about most major cities is that so many things are within walking distance. Take advantage of that. Even walking to work or your favorite cafe every day, if possible, is a great way to boost your physical well-being while spending time outside.
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the benefits of being in nature. Rediscover your passion for the great outdoors, keep these activities in mind, and enjoy everything the environment has to offer by getting out of the house more often.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.