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Why Spending More Time Outside Should Be a Part of Your New Year’s Resolution

By Juliet Ramirez

Happy New Year, everybody!

The new year can bring joyful reflections on last year’s successes, and it can also bring about a humbling dose of thinking about what didn’t go so well. It is a great time to reflect on change and an even greater time to reflect on how we approach change. It is easy to say we want to do less of something (less spending money, less unhealthy food etc.), but it can be empowering and more substantial to say we want to do more of something. Let’s get out of our comfort zones and do more! Let’s get new calendars and put things on them that we have never put on them before!

Instead of spending less time indoors, let’s spend more time outdoors. Let’s go on adventures!

When discussing new year’s resolutions, we hear a lot of common themes: health, money, quality time with family and friends, and substantial life goals. Here are some reasons why choosing to go outside more can cover all of those in a very real and fulfilling way.

Health– Spending time hiking in beautiful places can do so much for our health. The obvious reason is exercise, but there is so much more than that. When we are exploring new outdoors spaces, our desire to exercise increases, and we tend to do more than we would do in a gym. Spending time away from the stress of everyday life, even if it’s just a jog through the park, can also have huge effects on our mental health. Taking time to be mindful is easier in the outdoors, and mindfulness allows us a way to de-stress, connect with our surroundings, and find gratitude for the beauty in our lives.

Money– Instead of doing less of our favorite expensive things, let’s do more of our favorite non-expensive things! Spending time outdoors, and particularly hiking, is a fantastic low-cost activity. Even if you are planning to visit a park with fees, camping and hiking is still an incredible low-cost alternative to shopping and hotels. You can prepare for larger outdoor adventures by hiking on free trails in or near your local community. You can also pack low cost meals for your hiking trips. A picnic by a river or field can be loads more lovely than a pricey restaurant lunch.

Quality Time with Loved Ones– Play a game in the park. Go for a hike to a river, and jump in. Have a picnic somewhere beautiful. Getting outside together is a great way to bond with family and friends. Doing physical activity in the outdoors produces endorphins. Conquering challenges, even small ones, while producing those feel-good endorphins with other people strengthens our bonds with those people. Making plans to be outside with others can also hold you accountable and encourage you to meet that friend at the park instead of staying on the couch.

Having Success with New Goals– It feels good to accomplish new things. No matter what your skill level is, there is always an appropriate goal for you in the outdoors. This year, it may be going for a 10 minute walk. Another year, it may be summiting one of Yosemite’s remote peaks. Always choose goals that are challenging but safe for you.

What will you be doing more of in 2019?

Family enjoying a guided hike up the Mist Trail with the help of LEKI poles.

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