Why Should We Get Outdoors?

beautiful autumn hike

We live on a beautiful planet. We’re designed to respond to its beauty, serenity, power, majesty.

We’re also designed to move — a lot! And when our bodies spend a lot of time not moving, we get ourselves into trouble. Poor fitness leads to all kinds of physical ailments.

It wasn’t too long ago I discovered an annual report by the Outdoor Industry Association called the Outdoor Participation Report. Here’s a few statistics I read from the 2014 report:

  • “49.2 percent of the US population, participated in an outdoor activity at least once in 2013.” That means just over half of Americans weren’t active outside even once in 2013 — not even to go for a walk. What??
  • Of the 49.2 of Americans that got outside to recreate at least once in 2013, only 1 in 4 of them got out at least twice a week. I’ve never been a math whiz…but I think that’s about 12%. So 88% of Americans are missing out on some major whole-health benefits here.

Which side of the statistics are you on?

The older we get the less likely we are to stay active…

…especially outside and especially if you’re female (according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s annual Outdoor Participation Report).

And that’s really too bad, since an active outdoor life is a healthy life…for your body, mind, emotions and spirit.

I’m sure you’ve heard and read the statistics over and over again about the health benefits of staying physically fit. Did you know there’s growing research on the benefits of being outdoors too?

If we put those two things together, and add in healthy mental and emotional choices we’re giving ourselves a huge boost in living a more fulfilled, productive life. Not just for ourselves but our families, co-workers, friends and anyone else our lives connect with.

There are too many deaths from poor lifestyle choices

In May of 2014, Time.com ran a story with this headline: “Nearly Half of US Deaths can be Prevented with Lifestyle Changes.”

That’s a lot of deaths! And that doesn’t factor in those who are living with illnesses that can be prevented or cured (at least improved) with lifestyle changes…choices we make every day.

The benefits of being outdoors

Why should we get outdoors?

If you knew the many benefits of of outdoor recreation, would you be more likely to get out there?

If your answer is yes or even maybe, you’ll want to start here to read more. Benefits like a more positive outlook on life, a sense of calmness, a greater ability to focus…and more.

The benefits of regular physical activity

I think we all have seen lists of the benefits of regular activity over and over again. But let’s go through a refresher anyway…

Your children and outdoor activity

Do you have children?

Did you know there’s such a term as “nature deficit disorder”? It refers to the modern trend of kids staying inside and in front of screens rather than outside and active.

kids canoeing

Researchers are linking this trend to several growing health problems in children all over the developed world. These include ADHD, obesity, vitamin D deficiencies, even myopia (near-sightedness).

You can start reading here about why it’s important for your kids to get outside and be active, too.

When all is said and done, don’t just stop at reading though.

Go on — get yourself (and your kids, your husband, your friends) outside and take advantage of God’s wonderful design in both nature and us.

(PHOTOS: top — Oberg Mountain spur trail overlook, Minnesota; bottom — canoeing on Duncan Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota)