“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
Getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors is something most everyone loves. It simply makes people happy. Who doesn’t love breathing clean, fresh air, hearing the serene sounds of nature, and walking on a soft trail padded with pine needles? And who doesn’t need a break from technology – smartphones, computers, tablets, television, movies, internet, video games, and so on?
Here at Union Creek Resort, a beautiful natural setting deep in the Rogue River National Forest is what we’re all about. Towering 700-year-old Douglas First, trails meandering along Union Creek and the Rogue River, swimming and fishing holes, hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, Crater Lake National Park, and so much more abounds in every direction. Plus our guests love getting “unplugged” from technology and enjoying family, friends, and real-time, live experiences instead.
But besides being just plain good for you – as in, making you happy – getting out and enjoying nature can have some very real, very good positive effects on us. The benefits of getting outside include being good for our bodies, our minds, and those we enjoy it with. There are countless benefits nature holds for us, and we’ve come up with our top 8 reasons to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.
“To me, a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.” – Helen Keller
1) It makes you happy
Breathing good, fresh air and taking part in an outdoor adventure – no matter how big or small – will definitely put a smile on your face that you can feel throughout your whole body. Plus the opportunity to enjoy it with good friends and loved ones is an added bonus that brings happiness that grows.
Getting out of the confines of indoors and breaking out into nature affords unlimited opportunities to create fun memories – from a family hike in the woods or mountain biking along a creek to spending a quality morning fishing or taking in the breathtaking sights of Crater Lake National Park. It all adds up to your enjoyment and fulfillment, which brings genuine quality to your life. We all know how fast life can be, so it’s never too soon or too late to create happy memories that you will cherish and share forever.
Plus, other happiness results from getting outdoors include elevating moods, bringing relaxation, increasing mental health and improving self-esteem. According to a 2009 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study, people living within 1 kilometer of a park or wooded area enjoy less anxiety and depression that those living farther away.
2) It makes you healthy
Getting outside means getting into natural light, which means increasing our natural Vitamin D intake. This essential nutrient can help prevent cancer, heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, and inflammation, strengthen our immune systems and bones, and fight osteoporosis and depression.
Other health benefits of being outdoors:
- Improving quality of sleep
- Improving minds, increasing our focus and concentration, and reducing mental stress
- Reducing pain and stress following injury when exposed to natural light
- Improving vision by forcing eyes to adjust to different depths and colors
- Increasing energy
3) Take a break from technology
When we’re indoors, we’re usually tied to some form of technology – whether it’s for our jobs, education, or personal enjoyment. While being “always connected” has its benefits, it also increases our stress level, shortens our attention span, and creates a heightened level of chaos that we all experience daily.
Technology is generally related to being sedentary, or inactive physically. We sit in front of computers, hold still while texting, and sink back in a sofa when watching TV. But getting outside and away from technology forces us to do actual physical things, like move, stand, walk, run, and exercise, which translates into healthier, more fulfilling lives.
4) A fun way to spend quality time with family and friends
When we’re outside, we’re generally more comfortable spending this time with good friends, family members, or groups, which enriches our lives through social interaction. The benefits of socializing through quality fellowship are many, and well-known, and by doing it outside as part of an activity or adventure, you are enhancing that quality time. It’s a lot of fun, and gratifying, to plan an outside activity with those close to us, enjoying that activity, and then reminiscing for years to come.
5) Your pets love it
Our pets love spending time with us and they’d much rather do it outside where they are free to run and play. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spending quality time with our pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.
6) It’s great for kids
As stated above, indoors is notorious for being a haven of technological time-consumers, and this is readily evident with our kids. Children spend an average of 6-7 hours each day with electronic media and less than 30 minutes enjoying outdoor play. American suffers from a child obesity problem, but getting kids outdoors can have a big impact on their health and happiness. There is research that kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) enjoyed improved focus after being outdoors, and they scored higher on concentration tests after a walk through a natural, outdoor setting.
Getting kids outdoors with friends also helps them connect with their natural surroundings and experience real life, which helps build confidence and social skills essential for the rest of their lives.
7) Embrace adventure
When you embark on an outdoor activity, you are embracing an adventure. It doesn’t have to be a weeks’ long backpacking journey or a treacherous white water kayaking trip. It can be as simple as a walk in a park, some light trail running, or visiting waterfalls along the Rogue River or Union Creek. When we take on an adventure, we make ourselves take risks and chances, we are forced to adapt and be flexible within our new unfamiliar surroundings, and we test ourselves as we develop new skills. The end result is an exhilarating experience that will make you want to continue pushing yourself and trying new adventures.
8) Get in touch with our natural surroundings
Inside, we’re enclosed by walls, synthetic materials, manufactured heating and air conditioning, electrical wiring, and the ever-present technology. We’re likely breathing an assortment of toxins found in our typical indoor settings, including cleaners, detergents, plastics, building materials, and more.
But step out into the wild where there are no walls and we’re toxin-free, and the air is clean and fresh. The organic materials surrounding us include life-sustaining trees and plant life, birds, animals, rivers, streams, and the open sky. Embracing these natural surroundings and “getting back to nature” does anyone some good, and can be a sort of elixir to cure the gloom and monotony of extensive time indoors.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, sluggish from inactivity, or in need of some fresh oxygen and natural sunlight, remember to look no further than the great outdoors. It’s easy, inexpensive, and brings you a host of enriching benefits for your mind, body, and soul.