Hello How To Make a Life friends! My name is Mar and I can be found over at T.O. & fro. T.O. & fro started as a journal to document our adventures when an unexpected move took my then hockey-playing husband and I over 4500 miles from home in Ontario, Canada to the Land of the Midnight Sun, Alaska. We spent 3 years in the great state, and although we now call the concrete jungle of Toronto home, we still very much long to be surrounded by the beauty of Alaska.
As far back as I can remember, I always loved spending time outdoors. When I was younger, my grandmother and I used to go on nature walks at our cottage, collecting interesting things and always looking up the names of certain flowers or birds when we got back. Growing up on Lake Huron, I spent my free time at the local beach, not coming home until my fingers looked like prunes. Some may call me a nature nerd, but that’s ok with me because being outdoors is what makes my happy. This love of the outdoors has even led my on the career path I am currently on, as an environmental educator.
When was the last time you went outside? I’m not talking a walk to put out the garbage at the end of the driveway. I’m talking when you really went outside – for purpose and pure enjoyment. Hiking, camping, fishing, even a day at the beach?
Sadly, not many people can remember the last time they really got outside. Nature deficit disorder is real, and is becoming all too common in today’s society. Emerging technologies, limited green space and a fear magnified by media are to blame. At a time when I am beginning to think about my future children, I can’t imagine a world where we don’t get outside.
I am a total nature pusher and truly believe that being outside in nature is good for the soul. So today, I’m sharing T.O. & fro’s top 8 reasons why YOU should get outside:
To explore new places. Whether it is your local park, or a natural area a road trip away, choosing different places to visit allows you to explore what your own city and others have to offer. Do you research – you’d be shocked at the places you can find within a short drive from your home.
To develop a new found love of nature. Being outside isn’t just about being in a new environment. It’s also about gaining a new appreciation for Mother Nature’s beauty. Take a walk in the woods – close your eyes, open your ears and take a deep breathe. Look up, look down, look all around you. Appreciate the small things. Learn something new about the plants and animals that call your area home.
To reset your sleep cycle. With crazy work schedules and the increased exposure to artificial light, our internal clocks can easily get out of rhythm. Studies have shown that we actually sleep better when we set our sleep cycles with those of the sun. Plan a camping trip and leave the alarm clocks at home. Allow your body the rest it deserves.
To spend time with friends and family. Being outside doesn’t have an age limit. Taking a walk through the worlds, relaxing on the beach or even sitting around the campfire, telling stories, playing games and having a few laughs is the perfect bonding experience. And don’t forget about your pets, sometimes unwinding in nature does them good too.
To get some exercise. Being outdoors does not need to be strenuous, but it can give you the opportunity to take a break from your regular exercise routine and try something different. The opportunities for exercise while being outdoors are endless – canoeing, climbing and hiking are just a few. Your body will thank you.
To have fun! No explanation needed.
So do me a favour this weekend – make a pledge to get outside. Whether it is a nightly walk in the park or a weekend camping. Drop the chaos of every day life. Take a deep breath – take in the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. Make a lasting connection with nature. I think you’ll like it.
What is your favourite outdoor activity?