As outdoor enthusiasts, we live for the big hikes, backpacking trips, and weekends out in nature. Unfortunately, most of us have obligations that keep us indoors and we don’t get to spend as much time immersed in nature as we’d hope.
February is the time to reset and evaluate how we want to improve our lives- and this year, for us, it’s all about getting more time outside! Why? Becausespending time outside is incredibly refreshing and good for our physical and mental health. In fact, research has proven that spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase feelings of well-being! Not only that, but it can also help to boost creativity and improve sleep quality. Lacing up your hiking boots yet?
With all of the health benefits, it's clear that it's important to make an effort to spend more time outdoors. Here are our tips on how to do just that:
Make a list of nearby hikes
Day hikes can be spontaneous and fun, and easy to set up when you have your go-to list of hikes. Depending on the difficulty of the trail, it's a great way to either enjoy a gentle walk outdoors or to get your sweat on.Create your list by finding 4-10 hikes, taking note of the driving distance and how long each hike should take. Have 15 minutes? Maybe it’s just enjoying the trailhead of a hike you can’t wait to get to the end of one day. Have an hour? Enjoy that 3-mile hike with the beautiful waterfall at the end that relaxes every cell in your body. Half day? Load up a picnic and the dog and take a tech detox.
When making your list know what you are looking for:
- If you're not an experienced hiker, start with shorter trails and work your way up to longer ones.
- Find trails based on what you enjoy. Are you someone who prefers having a destination or goal—like a waterfall or a great viewpoint—or are you more about enjoying the process?
- Are you bringing a pet? Make sure the trails are pet friendly.
The more you hike the more you’ll discover what you like. And you may be surprised to find there are more trails near your home than you think- we recommend hopping on all trails to find exactly what’s in your area. The great thing about hiking is that it can be taken at your own pace- choose a hike weekly from your list that suits your energy levels for that day.
Make it a daily habit
One of the easiest ways to spend more time outside is to make it a daily habit. Before scrolling Instagram go for a quick walk outside while listening to your favorite music. Take note of your surroundings and make it a point to notice one beautiful thing you wouldn’t normally spot.
If you work in an office, try to make a habit to spend your lunch break outside. This can be a great way to break up the workday and get some fresh air. Even just a few minutes spent outside can help to refresh and rejuvenate you, so don't hesitate to take a short walk or sit on a bench and enjoy the scenery.Though we might want to drive up to the mountain every day for a 5-mile hike, a 10-minute “hike” around the local park might be all you have time for. You’ll feel so much better clearing your mind for 10 minutes in nature than sitting inside in the stuffy work air.
One daily habit we have is to enjoy our morning coffee on the porch. We do this so we can connect with nature first thing which sets a great tone for the day. This is also a chance to plan the day ahead while enjoying your tea or coffee outside.
Get inspired by setting goals
Set a goal to spend a certain amount of time outside each day, whether it's going for a quick walk or just sitting on your patio/porch/stoop. Start with a realistic amount of time that you know you can accomplish- even 10 minutes daily is a great start! Having specific goals can help to motivate you to get off the couch and finally go on that camping trip you’ve been talking about forever.
Other goals could be training for a marathon or trying to see as many different types of birds as possible. Having a goal will give you something to work towards and will help keep you on track. If your goal is to do a 5-mile hike next month- you can start with shorter hikes and make your way to the beautiful view you’ve only ever seen from Instagram posts.
Use technology to your advantage: While it's important to unplug and disconnect from technology sometimes, it can also be useful for finding new outdoor activities and tracking your progress. There are many apps and websites available that can track your workouts and distance. It can also be helpful to track your health and see how your time outside has benefited your mood, sleep, and well-being.
Enjoy a delicious meal outside
Either pack a lunch and find a nice spot outside to eat it or go for a full fancy feast with friends. Enjoying more of your meals outside is an easy solution to getting more time in nature- you gotta eat anyhow! Fancy up your backyard space/patio so it’s an area you want to spend time munching. This could mean adding some comfortable outdoor furniture or planting a garden. Consider investing in a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, which can be a great place to relax and spend time with friends and family. Alternatively, you can find a nearby green space that has park benches to enjoy a leisurely snack.
Picnic time! Look for a park or beach with a beautiful view and bring along some blankets or chairs to sit on. This can be a great way to recoup and have some alone time. Or a fun way to spend time with loved ones that shakes up the usual routine.
Plan outdoor activities
Look for fun outdoor events or activities to do in your area. This could be something like a concert in the park or a beach bonfire. Check out local event listings or do a search online to find events happening in your area. There are plenty of outdoorsy communities to join if you are hoping to meet new people and want others to share time out in nature with.
Find activities you enjoy: If you don't enjoy the activity you're doing outside, you're not going to want to do it for very long. Look for activities that you find enjoyable, whether it's biking, climbing, or just going for a walk.
Camping is another great way to spend a few days fully immersed in nature. It's a chance to get away from the distractions of daily life and spend some quality time with others. Look for a campsite in a beautiful location and spend your days hiking, swimming, and exploring the surrounding area.
In addition to these tips, there are a few other things you can do to get out the front door:
- Dress for the weather: If you're not comfortable, you're not going to want to spend time outside. Make sure you have the right clothing and gear for the weather, whether it's warm and sunny or cold and rainy.
- Invite friends and family: Spending time outside is always more fun when you have good company. Invite friends and family to join you for your outdoor activities, whether it's a hike, kicking a ball around at the park, or having a picnic.
- Find a way to connect with nature: get some plants for your porch, balcony, or windowsill. Or plant a tree locally.
- Adopt a dog: no one is more enthusiastic about a 5-minute stroll around the neighborhood than a dog. They’ll be dragging you outside and you’ll start to love it over time- just probably never as much as they do.
Whether it's going for a hike, having a picnic, or just sitting on your porch, make an effort to spend more time outside and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer. Over time, spending time outdoors will become second nature.
We hoped you enjoyed reading about how we get outside more. If you have any tips or want to learn more about where we like to hike, reach out! We always love to hear from you.