When was the last time you spent some time outdoors? Not simply walking to or from the parking lot to your car or front door, either. Research shows that outdoor activity is important to overall health and wellness.
It’s gotten very easy to sit inside with our electronics and devices, and the kids aren’t the only ones who are guilty of opting for a day scrolling through social media instead of doing something active. Here are some simple ways to reap the benefits of nature:
Enjoy some sunshine. Even if you are only outside for 15 or 20 minutes, it may be just enough to clear your mind and refocus. You’ll also get a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which helps to keep your immune system in top shape. A quick walk, jog or a leisurely stroll may be the perfect way to start or end your day. Research shows that even a short amount of time spent outside can reduce feelings of depression and boost energy levels. Even if you live in a city, try to get outside seek out the sights and sounds of nature — trees, flowers and birds, for example.
Know what’s available. Do a bit of research on the parks and nature locations near your home. Don’t forget to check for details that can make or break a good time; for instance, will there be parking? Will there be public restrooms? Is there a picnic area? And it doesn’t hurt to check the weather forecast!
Be mindful of your own health. If you are feeling ill in any way, then don’t head to the local park or outdoor area. A day of rest may be just what you need. Maybe opt to hang out in the backyard or on the porch instead of venturing out. Have a tree that is perfect for a hammock? Hang it up and take a rest.
Don’t forget the basics. Don’t let overcast skies trick you into thinking sunscreen and water aren’t necessary. Be sure everyone brings their own water bottle and it doesn’t hurt to stash an extra sunscreen in the car. If you are planning some solo time, be sure you’ve let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. It’s better to be safe!