It’s the new year, a time for a reset. For most people, a New Year’s resolution is essential. We’ve written this article because we want to encourage you to get and stay outdoors, and we think doing so will help you accomplish your goals in 2022. Here are seven ways to keep these resolutions by being outdoorsy.
1. Exercise more.
If you’re getting outdoors, there’s an excellent chance you’re also doing something active like hiking, biking, or kayaking. Whatever takes you into nature this January, you’re probably happier out there than you are in the gym for the hundredth time. Skip those overcrowded first few weeks on the treadmill and enjoy the bliss of a desert, river, mountain, or meadow. You’ll probably get in more steps walking on a trail than you would a treadmill.
According to a few exercise calculators like Harvard Medical School, I’ve listed ten popular outdoor activities from least to most calories burned. Fishing is the least strenuous on this list, while snowshoeing, running, and mountain biking is the most.
- Fishing: 54-79 calories burned per 30 minutes (source)
- Walking: 107-189 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Kayaking: 150-210 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Hiking: 170-252 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Swimming: 180-252 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Tennis: 210-294 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Rock climbing: 226-336 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Running: 240-336 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Snowshoeing: 240-336 calories burned per 30 minutes
- Mountain biking: 255-357 calories burned per 30 minutes
2. Reduce stress.
The outdoors is a healing space, something we could all use in the most stressful few years of our lives. Peer-reviewed medical research shows that being outside reduces heart rate and blood pressure and makes people happier. So, get outdoors, and you’ll likely feel less stressed.
3. Get more sleep.
With more people experiencing sleep issues like insomnia, it’s not surprising that getting more sleep is a New Year’s resolution. Fortunately, being outdoors will help you get to bed earlier and get better sleep quality (WebMD). For best results, go camping for even one weekend, and you’ll find you’re going to align your internal clock with the sunlight hours. If you don’t have time to camp, simply taking a walk in the sunshine will help you sleep better.
4. Save money.
Just as the winter holidays drain our bank accounts, the new year is a time for people to tighten their expenses and save their money again. One of the best ways to reduce costs is to adopt outdoor activities. For instance, you may go out to eat or watch a movie on a typical weekend, and these activities cost money. On a weekend when I stay in the city, I may spend $200. However, if you go hiking or camping, you’ll probably pay less money. For example, I would pack my food and drive to the trailhead, spending only $30 instead of $100 that day. The outdoors is typically an affordable place to visit.
5. Spend time with family and friends.
Being outdoors is one of the best ways to spend more time with your loved ones. Imagine the hours just talking or exploring a green environment together. Not to mention, the lack of cell phone service means that you’ll spend less time on your electronic devices and more time getting to know each other better. Clearly, this is one of the most convenient New Year’s resolutions to keep.
6. Meet new people.
Whether you’re biking, hiking, climbing, fishing, kayaking, or more, the outdoors is a great place to meet new people, which is a New Year’s resolution. Even if you’re hiking solo like I often do, you’ll meet people at the trail summit, in the park, or on the water. I would almost always get into a conversation, share food, or swap photo-taking moments. Occasionally, we’d even talk for a half-hour or more. Even when you’re going solo in the outdoors, you’ll rarely be alone. And if you’re feeling introverted, know that these conversations are always welcomed but not required by others.
7. Learn a new hobby.
There are so many ways to learn outdoorsy hobbies, so this is an easy New Year’s resolution to keep. Hiking is one of the easiest hobbies to learn because it’s just walking! You can also learn how to bike, swim, or climb, which are popular and offer options outdoors and indoors. Whether you’re joining a church group for an afternoon hike or checking in on an REI workshop on camping, biking, or snowshoeing, you’ll find there are many ways to learn a new favorite hobby.