Celebrate Great Outdoors Month – and National Get Outdoors Day on June 9 – by enjoying God’s wondrous creations as you take your physical activities outside. The physical and mental benefits are just an added bonus.
Regular exercise in nature has been shown to improve not only physical health, but mental health as well.* Benefits include feelings of revitalization; increased energy and positive engagement; decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression; and an overall improvement in mental well-being.
Like other any physical exercise, outdoor activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and boost your health, from cardiovascular to bones. But exercising outdoors tends to lead to increased benefits, in part because of the type and the length of the activities; it tends to be longer and more vigorous, and is usually more weight-bearing (think long hikes in the woods).
Great Outdoors Month encourages Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to take on active and healthy lifestyles while enjoying our nation's abundance of beautiful, outdoor recreational spaces.
Whether you're on your own or adventuring with family and friends this summer there are countless opportunities for to explore the great outdoors:
• Walk, run, or jog in a local park
• Go for a bike ride
• Find a local trail for a hike
• Swim at a pool, local lake, bay or the ocean
• Kayak, canoe, or boat
• Go bird-watching
Even less vigorous activities, such as fishing, picnicking, camping, barbecuing or reading a good book on the porch, are healthier than being indoors.
Here are a few events tied into the celebration of Great Outdoors Month:
• National Fishing and Boating Week: June 2 - 10 (see Take Me Fishing)
• National Get Outdoors Day: June 9
• Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day: June 9
• Great American Backyard Campout: June 23
June 9 is also a fee-free day at all National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges and Bureau of Land Management Lands - a great chance to explore some of our national treasures at no cost.
So start off your summer with a day in the great outdoors!
* J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge. Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review. Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; : 110203115102046 DOI: 10.1021/es102947t