I have this friend: super athletic, loves being outside, goes on 18-mile hikes for fun, naturally good at sports he has never played before, and is always trying to get me to join a game of ultimate frisbee. Know the type? Hang around this guy and it’s easy to feel like you’ve got to be a triathlete to enjoy the outdoors.
But the truth is, you don’t have to be athletic to spend time outside. In fact, much of what people do inside can be done outside, like walking, sleeping, laying down, waiting around … the list goes on.. It’s not about straining yourself, it’s about being in the sunshine and fresh air.
Hiking Walking Outside
The best thing about hiking is that it’s not difficult unless you want it to be. Hiking is the perfect introduction to the outdoors because many offer the best views of waterfalls, lakes and valleys, and many don’t require much work at all on your part. It also comes with some surprising health benefits. Besides vitamin D and the obvious work out bonuses, hiking can actually improve balance and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are plenty of short and sweet hikes that will get you excited about being in nature.
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Swimming reduced the stress impact on your body, meaning you can swim at a high intensity without feeling tired or sore. Or you can just swim around and basically just hang out in the water. You’ve likely been doing it since you were a kid. All you need is a bathing suit (usually ;)), a few friends and one of these swimming holes/hot springs. No crazy workout required.
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Camping Sleeping Outside
Camping is essentially sleeping, but you get to do it outside under the stars after a night of sitting around the fire and roasting marshmallows. The glow from a campfire increases melatonin in your body, making sleep even easier and more peaceful than usual. Going camping is peaceful, quiet and gets you acquainted with the outdoors. It doesn’t have to be traditional camping, either. If you prefer to have the conveniences of home, you can set up shelter in the backyard or go glamour camping (glamping) to get some peace and quiet while feeling like you’ve never left home.
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Floating a River Laying outside…on a river
Sun-tanning has never been so relaxing. Float a river with a huge group of friends or go it alone to get some peace and quiet. It’s one of the easiest things you can do outside, and it’s been known to reduce back and neck pain while improve spinal alignment. But not all rivers are slow and steady, so keep in mind if you’re after a relaxing float, you’ll want to find one without rapids or sharp turns. And make sure you have good music to keep you company during the slower stretches!
Fishing Waiting outside…for a fish
Fishing is notorious for helping people clear their minds. Because it requires you to focus on one thing, it distracts you from internal conflict, reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Or you can chat with some buddies, read or draw while waiting for the pole to budge. All you have to do is cast your line and wait for something to bite. You might even get a meal out of it.
Now this one is a little more involved, but not by much. Just because it’s snowing out doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! It’s easy to feel like you have to stay inside during the cold winter months, but without some fresh air, you’ll start to go stir crazy! Sledding is the best way to get your blood pumping enough to enjoy the snow and keep you from getting cabin fever. Not to mention being exposed to full-spectrum light while in the sun gives you a great energy boost for other winter activities.
These are just ideas to get you started. It’s not ultimate frisbee or a triathlon, but it’s enough to help you appreciate some sunshine and a little fresh air. The world has lots to offer, and it doesn’t have to cost any money, and it definitely doesn’t have to be hard. Whichever activity you decide, don’t let fitness keep you from enjoying what’s outside your front door.