What are you doing this weekend? Whether your plans include sleeping, playing video games, going to a concert or doing homework, it is probable that they don’t involve any outdoor activities. Due to our busy schedules and increasing reliance on technology, most of us either can’t seem to make time for things such as hiking and kayaking, are too tired or lazy to partake in these activities or just don’t see the value in such diversions. Whatever the reason, it’s important that people begin to find ways around these setbacks, as it is essential that people connect with the outdoors.
Many of us spend hours a day on our phones, on the computer or watching TV. It’s clear that this obsession with technology isn’t healthy, which makes it all the more important that citizens of the suburbs branch out and get outside. Taking a break from constantly texting or checking Facebook may be a surprising relief, and you may find that you actually prefer spending time in the outdoors to spending time waiting for your friends to message you back.
The outdoors offers a plethora of leisurely and rigorous activities, from hiking to rock climbing to whitewater rafting. No matter where you stand with regards to physical fitness, you’re likely to find at least one outdoor activity that you are not only capable of doing, but that you enjoy doing. Whether looking to fill up just an afternoon or an entire weekend, you’ll have many activities to choose from.
Busy schedules seem to be the biggest deterrent to partaking in outdoor activities. With homework, sports, extracurricular activities and sleep dominating what seems to be every minute of the day, we can’t get a second in otherwise for our own leisure. It’s undeniable that unless you find yourself sitting around with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon, managing to get outdoors is next to impossible without some sacrifice. The value of this sacrifice, however, must be recognized. It’s important to try something new every now and then, and it may turn out that this new thing you make time for just once becomes a healthy habit and hobby.
Outdoor activities often offer opportunities to meet new people as well as grow closer to your current friends, as hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, biking and almost any other activity imaginable can be done as a group and may actually be more fun in a group than alone. Beyond just physical and mental benefits, getting outdoors can be a wonderful social opportunity. Next time you make plans with someone to see a movie or go shopping, consider going for a bike ride instead.
Finally, let’s put things in perspective. Five or ten years from now, what will matter more, your grade on tomorrow’s physics test or the fact that you led a healthy lifestyle, possibly adding years to your life? Studying and extracurricular activities are important, but most of them serve only one short-term purpose: to get us into college. Staying active and getting outdoors, however, not only improves our lifestyle and increases our healthy habits, but opens doors to opportunities and experiences that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Turn off the phone, log off the computer, drop the remote control. Put your books away for an hour or two. Dust off your bicycle that’s been sitting in the garage for ages or dig your sneakers out of the bottom of your closet. Take a step back from the constant time-consuming things thrown your way and relax in the great outdoors.