5 Health Benefits of Being Outside in Nature

Tayloer Creek Hiking Trail in Zion NP

Taylor Creek Hiking Trail in Zion National Park – Kolob Canyons

I recently returned from a ten-day camping and hiking trip with my husband.
What a reminder that many times the best remedy for our health issues is to simply get out in nature and move our bodies!

 

Here is a list of the benefits I experienced – and you can too!

 

Taylor Creek Hike in Zion National Park1. Get away from your busy routines and slow down

This is a big one. We’re all so busy these days, just trying to make ends meet. Taking a break away from the daily hectic schedule immediately lowers your stress levels. It doesn’t have to be a ten-day camping trip. Taking a 15-minute walk outside at lunch will break that routine, and give your body time to relax. You’ll find your mind clearing, and you’ll be able to attack problems easier when you return to your work.

2. Get away from electronic gadgets and clear your mind

We were fortunate that our trip took us into remote areas that didn’t even have any cell phone service. Forget wifi. We were forced to “unplug”. It didn’t take long to adjust to not answering emails everyday or posting on Social Media. It was amazing how much time we had in our days without those two distractions alone! We stopped thinking about what was going on “out there” and simply enjoyed the scenery and nature surrounding us —and being together. My mind started clearing of all the clutter and I was able to focus on some creative ideas I’ve needed to tackle.

Here’s more information on this topic: How Walking in Nature changes the Brain

3. Get away from city noise and relax

Qauil Creek State Park campsite

Evening at Quail Creek State Park, southern Utah

The first thing I notice when we leave the city, is the absence of traffic noise. I find my muscles relaxing as I listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, crickets chirping and birds singing. On this last trip, although we wanted to see three National Parks, we managed to camp in nearby smaller State Parks, where it was less crowded and more peaceful. State Parks tended to have better facilities and better maintained – which is a sad reminder that our national budget for our wonderful parks has been slashed too much! Smaller parks allowed us to stay off the grid and enjoy more quiet time. A peaceful evening sitting around a campfire did much to remove any remaining stress from our bodies and minds.

 

4. Get away from air pollution and take a deep breath

Most of us don’t even realize how much pollution we breathe in everyday, until we get out of the city and take a breath of fresh air. When you get away from the traffic, you also get away for its pollution. As the noise dissipates and you find yourself naturally relaxing, you’ll automatically take a deep, cleansing breath. Go on, breath deep! Relax!


5. Get away from the couch and move your body

I left for a camping trip while in back pain and came home pain free.

It was the day before our scheduled ten-day camping trip and I was worried. My lower back was in constant pain. I had taken a fall a month earlier when I slipped on water in a grocery store. I was relieved that after falling on concrete I had not broken anything, but my spine was suffering the trauma of the hard hit.

A funny thing happened on the way

Zion National Park view from bridge hike

Zion National Park

Getting away from our busy routine, allowed me to relax for the first time in months. Being “off the grid” further forced me to relax and change up my attitude. Being immersed in nature 100% of every day gave me a new perspective. Within three days, my back had adjusted to sleeping in a tent on a 1-inch thick air mattress under my sleeping bag. Hiking an average of five miles every other day kept me moving and gaining muscle strength. My back pain lessened everyday. My hips stopped hurting when I hiked. I was ready for bed every night after exercising, slept soundly and awoke each day refreshed.

On the last day before driving back, we hiked 5 miles in rugged terrain, at over 7,000 ft. elevation in temperatures over 80 degrees. And I felt great afterward. No pain. What a change from the day we left for our trip! What does that say about my daily sitting at a computer all day?? So you can bet I’m making sure I’m doing a better job of getting up and moving around during the day – and a short break for swimming or walking does wonders!

Not enough reasons? Here are more: 11 scientifically proven reasons you should be spending less time in the office

 

Does this encourage you to take a break more often and get out in nature?

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10 Comments

  1. Ann Young

    Wonderful, useful sharing! Helps me feel motivated to incorporate some of these ideas into my own routine!

    Reply
    • indy

      I’m so happy to hear that, Ann! It’s amazing to me how easy it is to get wrapped up in each day’s dramas and not make it outside. When I do finally make it outdoors, all the rush of busi-ness goes away and I have to wonder why in the world I didn’t think I had time to take the walk, or swim, etc., in the first place! For me, it’s all about creating good habits that I just do because that’s my routine – and then I don’t make the excuses that I don’t have the time…

      Reply
  2. Michelle Rodenborn

    Great post. Made me miss my hiking and backpacking days with my husband. Time to get out there again! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • indy

      Thank you for the kind words, Michelle. And thank you for taking time to comment here – it makes my day to know I’ve helped someone out there remember how great it is to be out in nature! :0)

      Reply
  3. Mike Sirota

    Sounds like good advice. I love being out in nature…as long as my butt is in the LA-Z-Boy by day’s end. 🙂

    Reply
    • indy

      Your loooong walks are epic – I can only aspire to do as well! :0)

      Reply
  4. Carl Saathoff

    I am so glad that you shared your experiences with us. I plan on following your advice…reconnecting with nature. We all need it. In fact, we don’t even realize that we’ve lost it until we regain it. Thank you, Indy, you’re the best.

    Reply
    • indy

      Hey Cuz! So great to hear from you and nothing makes me happier than to know I’ve inspired someone to get back to nature! Thanks for reading and commenting – you made my day!

      Reply
  5. Jill G. Hall

    Indy, I’m so glad you got to take some time away. If I go too long without being in nature I start to feel disorganized and overwhelmed. Thanks for this reminder!

    Reply
    • indy

      Thank you, Jill. I agree with you. Too much time away from nature and the stresses of everyday living start to take their toll. Isn’t it crazy how a few moments outside lowers our stress and makes us wonder why in the world we thought all that “other stuff” was so important? It does help put things into perspective!

      Reply

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