Sunday, May 1, 2011

Get Out.

I just got back from a week in Las Vegas. I know what you’re thinking… “VEGAS! What a great place to go if you’re looking for your mojo… You could win a few bucks, have a few drinks, break a few laws.

I did none of those things.

I hiked.

Yep, I went to Vegas to hike. And it was awesome.

It’s been a long, hard winter in the Northeast. We had lots of snow, ice, and bitter cold temperatures. Needless to say, I didn’t get out much. My exposure to the great outdoors consisted of daily jaunts from my house to my car to drive my kids to school. That adds up to a grand total of about three minutes a day.

Unless you’re a jar of mayonnaise, it’s really not good for anyone to not be outside for that long.

The fact is, there are many benefits to being outdoors. Children with ADHD are better able to focus after they’ve been outside in a natural environment. Being surrounded by nature is shown to reduce stress and tension. Studies have even shown that interaction with nature can lead to a better memory and a greater attention span.

Of course, with your savvy smarts, you don’t need research studies to figure that out. You’ve probably sat on a beach, breathing in the fresh sea air and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, and felt perfectly content. I’m sure you’ve walked through the woods on a crisp autumn day, watching the golden leaves fall gently to the ground, and felt at peace with yourself. You must have spent many nights under starry skies, listening to nothing but the crickets, and felt that all was right with the world.

Nature is a part of us, just as we are a part of nature. Sometimes we try to deny that by building concrete jungles, exercising in window-less gyms, and eating food that doesn’t actually contain any real food, but it’s a fact, and more than that… it’s a fact of nature.

So now that it’s spring, let’s vow to get out more. Let’s take a walk on our lunch break, spend a weekend at the beach, or take the kids camping. You can even move your yoga mat out to the deck. I guarantee it will do wonders for your stress levels. You’ll feel part of something bigger than yourself, and that alone is sure to grow your groove.

And remember, what happens outside, stays outside. Or is that Vegas? I always get them confused.