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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, February 23, 2024

College 101: Fun and Fresh Air

I want to get outdoors more. Lately, I feel like I’m kind of a recluse: I’m working, studying, sleeping, and even partying indoors. So I’d like to get out into the woods or the mountains or something--but I’m also not really very athletic or into outdoor sports. So, experts, what would you recommend? I’d like to take a vacation or something that puts me outside (and in nature, not just at resorts and stuff), but I don’t really know where to start.

There are plenty of great reasons to spend time outdoors! When we have fun in the sun, we’re doing more than just getting a little exercise or working on our tans. Experts believe that spending time outdoors is actually healthy regardless of whether or not you’re getting exercise. The very act of being outside is good for us, science says. There are plenty of reasons for this, including the effect that getting some sun can have on your body’s health and your mood.

Getting some exercise outdoors is, of course, even better. That’s part of why scientists and health experts are pleased with the outdoor exercise revolution, which has seen more and more of us getting our workouts done outdoors instead of inside our homes or inside of gyms. But you don’t need to be a rock climber or a mountain biker to enjoy time outside, so don’t worry. We have a lot of other options for you.

For instance, while you mention resorts as being less than genuine outdoor experiences, such places may actually have a lot to to offer you. Resorts offer access to plenty of outdoor attractions, which can be as simple and enjoyable as sitting on the beach or by the pool. And if you feel that a resort experience isn’t “outdoorsy” enough for you, perhaps you should take a second look at the many great resorts in more rustic locations than swanky beach towns. You can spend luxurious vacations high in the mountains or near gorgeous lakes, and some resorts even offer accommodations that lean more spartan than over-the-top.

You could aim for attractions that allow you to experience both the beautiful outdoors and a high-end vacation. Take time to travel to North Bend, OR, for instance, and you’ll find The Mill Casino, Hotel, and RV Park, which offers plenty of fun things to do in a setting that will satisfy any nature lover. If you’re new to outdoor vacations, mixing outdoor attractions and National Parks with some indoor attractions like resorts, spas, and casinos can be a nice way to develop a love of nature without allowing fatigue to set in.

Similarly, you shouldn’t feel that an outdoor vacation needs to be unstructured. Nature isn’t just about camping and wandering--you can combine specific outdoor activities into a vacation that involves hotels and resorts. For instance, you can make sure that you surf Hawaii by scheduling your surfing lessons ahead of time. Don’t rely on spur-of-the-moment feelings to make sure that you get outside: make it a plan, just as you would with a hotel or restaurant reservation.

Certain types of vacations lend themselves to more outdoor time than others. Aim for warm but temperate locations that have natural outdoor attractions and plenty of ways to enjoy typical vacation activities--like eating and drinking--in outdoor settings. Seek out interesting and remote locations: perhaps a road trip would be a fun way to get your start on outdoor experiences! Just make sure that you have a reliable vehicle, advise the auto experts at one trusted car dealership in Rockaway, NJ. Even if you think your car is in great shape, it’s a good idea to stop by for a visit with a trusted mechanic before you take your vehicle on a long trip. Fresh belts, an oil change, and other maintenance essentials will help ensure that your car stays safe, efficient, and reliable for the entire trip. And make sure that mechanic is qualified and certified, say pros that offer automotive & diesel technology degrees.

By the way, you don’t have to wait until your next few days off to experience the outdoors. Vacations aren’t the only way to get fresh air--and, in fact, you really shouldn’t be waiting for a week or two each year to get some sun and air. Instead, try to build some outdoor time into your daily life.

In our culture, it can be surprisingly easy to avoid outdoor time. But it’s also not too hard to reclaim a little but of sun and fresh air! For instance, you could simply park your car further from the entrance of the grocery store (in decent weather, at least!) or choose to walk short distances instead of driving. Go on walks outside for exercise (or, better yet, runs). Take your packed lunch outside at work and request outdoor seating at restaurants. Look for outdoor activities in the summer, like outdoor movie screenings and outdoor plays.

Make getting outside a habit, not an event! Experts agree that habits and lifestyle changes are the best ways to turn healthy decisions into a regular part of our lives. So don’t target massive and unsustainable changes or rely on occasional vacations to get outside. Instead, look for simple and small ways to take things that you already do and use them to create outdoor habits. Can you study outside? Socialize outside? Consider trying to reprogram some of your habit loops in order to create a healthier lifestyle. The things that you feel are keeping you from enjoying the sun and fresh air may not actually be the problem--and you may even find that you can use them to get more outdoor time.

You’ve already taken an important first step by recognizing the importance of spending time outdoors and seeing that your own lifestyle is leaving you without the proper amount of outdoor time. Now, it’s up to you to make some changes to make your life healthier and happier. We’re sure that you can do it. Good luck!

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” –Henry David Thoreau

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