Outdoor Benefits

I had a great trip to NJ last week!  Fall color was everywhere.  It really surprised me the difference a week can make…see my fuzzy photos below!

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The biggest change can be seen to the right of the tree.

I spent a lot of time hiking (or walking) in the woods this trip and enjoyed every minute of it.  Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.”

The woods, the trails, the birds, deer, feather duster plants, whom-pin tree (for Harry Potter fans), the hill (oh, I’m out of shape), and the serenity.  I go to the woods for a deeper understanding of myself.  I can quiet my mind of all the chatter and noise and really delve deep.  It’s an awesome experience that I miss and will cherish once I move to Colorado.  It could be equated to a walking meditation I imagine.

There have been numerous great studies and research done on the positive effects of being outdoors.  The effects of the sun can help gather Vitamin D which is shown to help with osteoporosis, cancer, depression and heart attacks.  Children with ADHD have reduced symptoms, and other kids are shown to have improved test scores when the environment is a part of the curriculum, so why not adults too?  Light elevates mood and happiness equating to more smiles.  Nothing wrong with that!  There has even been studies on surgery patients where natural light has shown to help with pain levels, reduce need for meds, and assist with quicker healing times.  The biggest thing I picked up from reading numerous results of these studies was that in over the last 20 years, our childhood has moved indoors.  Remember playing outside until Mom called you in for dinner?  I do.  Not anymore.  Today, children spend less than 30 mins a day outdoors and up to 7 hours in front of some type of electronic screen, be it computers (at school, as well as at home), TV, cell phones, and tablets.  To go along with these facts are, that obesity rates have doubled, almost tripled in the last 20 years.  Hmmmm.  Any clues here?

Get outside!  Take in some fresh air.  Ride a bike.  Take a walk.  Hug a tree (yes, I’ve done this one too). Goto the park.  Hike a mountain.  Sit at the base of a tree, with the sun on your face, while you read a book.  A real book, not electronic.  Don’t even get me started on what the great age of electronics has done to “zap” our quality time with nature.  Look at what I’m doing right now!  Typing away on a computer, so you can read it on whatever device you are working with at the moment, and I’ll bet neither one of us is outdoors.

Health, happiness, energy, and positively good things come from spending time outdoors.

How have you spent time outdoors this week?  Let me know in the comments section below!

3 Replies to “Outdoor Benefits”

  1. Just read this…

    “The more time you spend sitting, the shorter and less healthy your life will tend to be-that’s the new consensus among researchers. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) now lists inactivity as the fourth biggest killer of adults worldwide, responsible for nine percent of premature deaths.”

  2. That’s good reading! I would spend all of my time outdoors if it didn’t rain (which is what it’s doing now) or get dark or oh so very cold.

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