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7 Fun and Active Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Spending time outside keeps your body moving and is good for your soul.

There’s nothing like the great outdoors—the smells, the sights, the sounds. When out in nature, we can enjoy the beauty that surrounds us and be mesmerized by all this earth provides. Not only is this good for our mental health, but it gives us many opportunities to be more active.

If you’re looking for a reason to get off the couch and move more, think of the vast and wonderful world outside your door. You don’t need to travel far to spend time amongst Mother Nature’s beauty. In many cases, you can find places right in your own neighborhood to explore.

“Exploring the outdoors gives us an opportunity to be engaged and take in the beauty that is around us,” said Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, LCSW, St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center Director of Social Services. “Take a deep breath and focus on the smell of the soil or the sun on your face. In today’s society, we are constantly on the go and forget to enjoy the present moment that we’re in and what’s going on around us. Take a moment for your mental health to let go of the inner turmoil and focus on the present.”

Here are 7 ways to move more while enjoying the great outdoors: 

  • Become a photographer. Grab your camera (or your phone) and set out to capture beautiful and interesting sights. Simply snap away at anything that piques your interest. The photos will be a reminder of time well spent and you’ll probably clock more steps than you realize.
  • Collect shells or rocks. If you’re near a beach, it’s easy to walk for miles while searching for shells. It’s also a great way to relax. If you’re not near a beach, look for interesting rocks. Collecting a rainbow of leaves in the fall is also a fun activity that will keep you moving.
  • Plant a garden. Whether you plant flowers or vegetables, the act of digging in the dirt keeps you active and watching something grow is very rewarding. If you don’t have room for a garden in your yard, consider a container garden or look into volunteering at a community garden.
  • Explore a park. There are thousands of state and local parks in the U.S. and most provide countless opportunities to enjoy nature. Stroll along a popular path or hike less-traveled terrain. Either way, you’ll enjoy a feast for your senses while benefiting your physical and mental health.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt. Head out on a walk and see what you can find along the way. To make the activity even more fun, do it with a group and make a list of items to search for ahead of time. See who can find the most items on the list.
  • Fly a kite. All you need is a patch of grass and a light wind and you can feel like a kid again as you work to keep your kite soaring in the sky. It’s fun, relaxing and you’ll get a few steps in while you play.
  • Take a walking tour. If you’re closer to a city than a tranquil patch of green, get out and explore all there is to offer. You can do it on your own or sign up for a tour with a local guide. Even in your own neighborhood, you may learn about things you never knew before.

For more information on St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center, please visit here

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Date Last Reviewed: February 13, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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