It’s no secret people have started getting outdoors more. While playing outdoors may have been natural for the Baby Boomer generation, the 50 years or so afterward have experienced an explosion of technological advance which has led us to more time indoors. But in the past 5 years or so, 20 – 30somethings (and really people of all ages) have started to turn their attention to the outdoors to find fulfillment and meaning. This may be due to the fact that apps like Instagram and Twitter have started to expose the value of these outdoor experiences.
While many people see an “epic hike” as something to share on social media (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), several outdoor enthusiasts are beginning to realize a deeper, more intrinsic value to their expeditions to the wild parts of the world. And these realizations are completely grounded in scientific truth. Here are just a sample of the many benefits outdoor recreation can have on both the body and mind:
1.) Lower Stress Levels
Nothing puts your problems into perspective like standing beneath mountain peaks towering thousands of feet overhead (or better yet, standing on TOP of peaks!). Time in the outdoors can give you the time you need to think over and process difficult situations, and can inspire new ways of looking at problems that help them seem more manageable. Lower stress is a result that literally every person reading this blog can benefit from. Less stress = more energy, contentment and better problem solving. Who among us doesn’t want that??
This benefit is a direct result of the one prior. Stress is a leading cause of early mortality, so lower stress means longer life! And not just longer but healthier and filled with vitality. It is proven that those who recreate outdoors will likely have more years of breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on their faces. And this multiplies when recreating with friends, family or loved ones!
This may seem extreme but several studies, including those in Japan regarding a natural preventative treatment which is referred to as “forest bathing,” have shown that the inhalation of phytoncides which are a natural airborne chemical produced by plants, can stimulate the production of white blood cells and thus facilitate the fighting off of minor infections.
4.) More Energy
This one is easy to prove, as it can be discovered by just 20 minutes of sitting outdoors observing nature or even, as one study suggests, by looking at photographs of awe-inspiring nature scenes! Anyone who is an avid hiker can tell you – a good 30 minute jaunt on a trail can prepare you for the day better than any cup of coffee or espresso (though we certainly still enjoy the magic beans ourselves from time to time!).
5.) Better Sleep
Although this may seem an obvious result from outdoor recreation, the cause of better sleep from being outdoors may not be what you initially think. The true reason for more restful nights after being outdoors is the exposure to sunlight. Our bodies have been conditioned to function off of what we know as our Circadian Rhythm, which causes hormonal changes based on daylight. A few hours outdoors, or even exposure to natural light (let the outside in – open the curtains!), can help your body to know when it’s time to be awake, and when it’s time to sleep.
So as you can tell, there are many benefits to your health which have been proven to result from time outdoors. This list doesn’t even mention the enhanced ability to focus, boost in creativity, healthier vision, better short-term memory and even anti-depression benefits of the great outdoors. With all of these benefits it is easy to see why right now just might be the beginning of the next outdoor revolution!
Our goal here at Crag To Vine is not only to help people experience the outdoors in a safe and fulfilling way, but also to create stewards of this incredible wild land with such immense healing powers. On our tours we’ll help you see the greater benefits and meaning of your time outside. Let us help you to discover what others all across the world are learning each day – that the outdoors are the way to better health and happiness – in short, the fountain of youth!