The many benefits of spending time in nature are being extolled by a cross-section of healthcare professionals. Similarly, self-help experts recommend time spent outdoors to support personal happiness and well-being. Clearly, the consensus is that being in nature is a healthful positive experience and that it should be sought after. Finding the right motivation to put down the remote control, get up off the sofa and head out the door might be easier said than done though. Identifying some worthwhile activities can provide the necessary incentive to quit channel surfing and get out the door.
A variety of outdoor activities are often as close as the backyard. Some of these may not be the first choice for something to do outside but are usually chores that need to get done. Other items on the list are more recreational activities and are easier to get excited about. Either way, here are a few close to home opportunities for getting outdoors.
Some people find great pleasure in landscaping activities around the house. Mowing the grass or trimming the hedges does provide a valid reason for spending time outside. It has the added benefit of boosting a sense of pride in homeownership.
Admittedly, lawn care isn’t for everyone though. Location may also be a factor. Parts of the country that are warm all year long, like Nevada, attract lots of retirees. Though the heat can be nice, Summer temperatures in the Southwest can make working outdoors downright dangerous. It’s understandable and probably appropriate to call in outside help depending on your city. There are professionals for weed control Las Vegas or tree trimming in Phoenix.
The bottom line is that tending to landscaping tasks is one way to get outside. Appreciating green space close to home in this way is convenient, improves curb appeal and boosts the satisfaction of homeownership.
There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill to get people outdoors. The sumptuous smells of barbeque mingled with charcoal smoke are practically a staple of summertime. It is an opportunity to sharpen culinary skills as well.
Entire cookbooks are devoted to the art and science of cooking outdoors. Aspiring chefs can find recipes ranging from traditional burgers and hot dogs to grilled salmon on cedar slabs.
Another benefit of cooking outside is keeping the heat out of the house during a time of year when the air conditioning seems to run non-stop. Reducing oven and stovetop cooking will also help curb the electric bill.
There are many benefits to be had from the back yard cookout. Preparing food while being able to enjoy the great outdoors is a wonderful activity to help get in some outside time.
Backyard Sports and Games
There are many outdoor sports and games with a long history of popularity. Croquet, badminton and yard darts are just three from a long list. These fun and challenging activities will tempt family and friends to join in.
Another plus for these sports is the physical activity involved. While they may not be great cardio workouts, they do get people moving and some activity is better than none.
Yoga or Tai Chi
These two practices can be done solo, and many individuals find them to be both beneficial and enjoyable. Shifting the setting for a regular activity like this from indoors to outdoors may add a new dimension that increases its value.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline that originated in India. Many who pursue this practice do so within the confines of a studio or gym. Moving to an outdoor setting is a way to breathe new life into what may have become a drab routine. Some who have tried this alternative locale report an elevated feeling of connection with nature. Yoga classes are occasionally held outdoors when climate and opportunity permit.
Tai Chi, somewhat like yoga, is a practice of mind and body. It involves coordinated, smooth, body movements and in some ways resembles a choreographed dance. Originating in China, it was considered a martial art but has come to be thought of more as meditation in motion. Traditional Chinese medicine considers the practice as a way of stimulating vital energy known as chi. Like yoga, Tai Chi can be practiced outdoors. Classes are regularly held in parks and other green spaces.
Digging in a flower bed or plowing up a small plot to start a vegetable garden are great activities for getting outdoors. There are many delicious rewards from a vegetable garden that grows produce for the table. The ornamental and decorative flowerbeds lining walkways have their own aesthetic rewards.
Many who practice gardening as a hobby find it to be a uniquely satisfying experience. Quite literally connecting with the rhythm of the seasons fosters a deeper appreciation for nature and its cycles. Gardeners may also choose to sell excess produce at farmer’s markets and realize a monetary benefit.
Perhaps the most basic of outdoor activities, walking provides multiple benefits. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood provides a change of scene to break the monotony of the same four walls. This alone may provide a mental uplift.
The obvious cardiovascular advantages of increasing heart rate and respiration are touted by physicians regularly. Other large body muscles get a workout as well and when regularly practiced, walking can improve muscle tone and help with weight control.
Outdoor activities are not limited to just daylight hours. Amateur astronomy is a hobby that fosters a connection with something beyond the earth’s atmosphere by casting a gaze far into the heavens. Local astronomy groups often form clubs and plan star parties for members to attend. Participating in these is a way to get outdoors and appreciate nature after the sun goes down.
Getting outdoors appears to offer unique benefits to health and happiness. Finding an activity of some kind to participate in can supply just the right reason to get outside and reap these benefits.
Once outdoors and engaged in an activity a key to realizing the most reward seems to be mindfulness of a connection with the natural world. While just getting out in the sun and wind has beneficial effects, appreciating the place humans occupy in a larger environment can maximize those perks. Engaging with nature can become a positive healthful habit that deepens a sense of appreciation and belonging.