Whether kayaking on a nearby river, skiing down a mountain, or backpacking through the forest, I’m always amazed at how nature seems to soothe, relax, and rejuvenate me both physically and mentally. When I’m outside breathing in the fresh air and gazing out at the beautiful landscapes, I can’t help but feel overwhelming grateful for life. Any stress I may have had quickly fades away.
I don’t think I’m alone in this experience. In fact according to several studies, time spent in nature is associated with reduced feelings of anger, fear, and depression as well as a positive mood, psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality. So if you’re looking for ways to feel better physically and mentally, spending time outside may just be what you need.
National, state, and local parks across the country provide a place for people to appreciate the beauty of nature, socialize with families and friends, de-stress, exercise, and have fun. Better yet, many parks hold special events in July to celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month making it the perfect time to get outside.
So do it! Plan an adventure this month. Travel or stay local, go alone or with friends, relax or challenge yourself with a new hobby.
Here are 5 outdoor fitness-inspired ideas to consider trying as you plan your venture:
- Kayak or Canoe: Fly through white water rapids, explore wildlife on a lake, or paddle as you watch the sunset along the ocean. You can kayak in almost any body of water: river, lake, or ocean. Just be sure to do it safely: don’t go alone, always wear a lifejacket, and know your limits.
- Hike, Bike, or Run: Spend a morning running along a trail or explore new territory during an afternoon family hike. Challenge yourself on a local fitness trail (a course equipped with exercise stations) or take a leisurely bike ride along a rail-trail (unused rail corridors that have been converted into walkable, bikeable trails for public use).
- Geocache: Go on a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt. All you need is a GPS-enabled device. Get the coordinates of a geocache near you and use your GPS device to find a hidden geocache.
- View Wildlife: Take a hike and see what wildlife you can find! Look for birds, salamanders, and other critters, and attempt to identify the different plants around you.
- Cross Country Ski or Snow Shoe: For many, July offers little opportunity for these two activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning ahead! Now is a great time to look for discounts on equipment and gear. Or perhaps there is a snow-capped mountain that beckons you this summer.
So what will your next adventure be? Leave a comment and share!