With the year coming to a close and the holiday season upon us, you’re probably feeling a lot—weary, concerned, excited, relieved, anxious, sad, happy, and most likely, a mixture of all the feelings at once. Regardless of how you may be feeling, it is important to remember that your emotions are valid. After all, we can all agree, without a doubt, that it was a challenging year. And with the end in sight, it’s time to think of how we want to start next year off in a positive way. With that said, it’s time to come up with New Year’s resolutions.
Most people—myself included—kick-start the New Year with a list of resolutions or by setting intentions. We view the New Year as an opportunity for a fresh start to bring about desirable changes in our lives. But research showcases that 80% of resolutions are given up by the second week of February. And contrary to popular belief, it is not because the resolutions are unrealistic. In fact, most resolutions are very attainable, for example, going to the gym, eating healthier, losing a reasonable amount of weight. Yet, within a month or so, most people give up and retreat back to their old patterns. So the question has to be asked: What can be done differently?
The answer is surprisingly simple, make small but easy lifestyle changes day by day. One easy way to do that is spend more time outdoors. Spending time outdoors is proven to improve both physical health and psychological wellbeing. Not only that, studies have shown that fresh air can improve memory and alertness, allowing us to function better on a daily basis. Hence, a key factor in being successful in your new year’s resolutions—regardless of what they may be—is to incorporate nature into your lifestyle. By spending more time outside, your life will benefit holistically, allowing you to stay on track and not give up on your goals.
I know as women we always need to be cautious of our environment. And for some being outdoors can bring up fear, anxiety, stress, which is the opposite of what we want. Therefore, the key to reducing those emotions is taking the necessary steps to ensure safety so that you can fully enjoy yourself and reap all the wonderful benefits of being outside.
Step one is to pair up or go in a group. There is power and safety in numbers, plus you’ll have people to enjoy your time with, which is a win-win. Another step you can take is to go out during the day, whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch break, or before sunset, going out when there is still light will support your sense of welfare. And finally, always let your loved ones know where you are. It may seem excessive, but you can never be too careful. Taking these precautions will help bridge the gap between desiring safety and enjoying the outdoors.
Once you have a game plan in place, check out the list of outdoor activities below and get inspired to kick off the New Year right!
Walking is an excellent activity because it requires zero planning and it can be done anywhere, any time of the year. Movement, mixed with fresh air, clears your mind and reduces stress symptoms. By taking the time to walk daily or even just a few times a week, you are actively improving your physical and mental health.
Running is perhaps one of the oldest and most widely used forms of exercise. And it is a great outdoor activity that can be practiced anywhere, anytime. So if you want a cardio option, to get that blood pumping, you can build up to a pace and distance that works for you.
Cycling is a fun and adventurous activity that can be done anywhere. It’s a great lower body workout, working your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Considered to be an aerobic activity, it will improve your cardiovascular health. Plus, it’s a non-weight-bearing activity, with tremendous benefits for muscles and joints, making it a great choice for people with joint pain. Moreover, it is a great mode of transportation, both cost-effective and eco-friendly.
Yoga may have its roots in India, but today it is practiced in almost every part of the world. Even though most people practice yoga indoors, it is one of the best choice as an outdoor activity. The combination of mind-body workouts, focusing on peace and stability, pairs perfectly with the overall health benefits of time spent outdoors. Feel your worries melt away as you breathe in the fresh air and focus on the present moment.
Now that you have a few great options that are cost-effective and do not require any planning, just remember to pace yourself. Change your lifestyle, bit by bit each day and have fun while doing it! If you’re looking for other ways to enjoy the outdoors; check out our events calendar, join a group and take in the beauty outdoors one step at a time.