Today is the unofficial start to summer. And in New England we are experiencing some of the best weather we’ve had all year long. It also means that some of my favorite outdoor activities will begin to occupy my weekends for the next few months. After a long and gloomy winter season, opting to head outside does the mind, body and soul, a great deal of good. Research suggests that spending time outside helps improve memory, fights depression, and lowers blood pressure.
Many people spend significant amounts of time under fluorescent lights and in front of computer screens. Couple that with long winters spent indoors and our physical and emotionally health beings to decline. In article published by Harvard Medical school, they state that a few benefits to spending time outside include:
Vitamin D levels will increase
You will naturally get more exercise (especially if you are a kid)
You will be happier
Natural healing will be faster
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach us more than we can ever learn from books.” –John Lubbock
The good news is that across the country, there are many great opportunities to be active. Some of my favorite ways to spend time outside include hiking, golfing, kayaking and other water sports. Taking part in a variety of activities allows me to connect with different aspects of nature, whether a national forrest, a bay near the ocean, or a local park. It also gives me a chance to spend time with friends and family that also enjoy these activities.
Over the last few years, I have spent more time exploring the great oudoors and have come to really appreciate the beauty. With that comes a great deal of responsibility when it comes to being adequately prepared (having the right gear) and taking care of mother nature.
According to the National Parks Service, they suggest the these top 10 essential items when hiking: Navigation, Sun Protection, Insulation, Illumination, First-Aid, Fire, Repair Kit, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter.
Kayaking and water sports are a great way to explore areas you may not get to on foot. REI has the following suggestions for kayaking safety: plan a trip with your capabilities, research local hazards and weather, create and share a float plan, bring essential safety gear, dress for immersion, and don’t go solo.
There are many organizations that will lead you through trip planning, gear maintenance, outdoor skills/navigation and leadership training. I highly suggest taking advantages of programs like this to help ensure that you have a fun and safe experience while exploring the great outdoors.
Resources I suggest: