by Kelvin Belfon
About 3 months ago, my wife and I were giving our friend Bonnie a ride home. It was a beautiful day in Denver, Colorado. The mountains were dark green and capped in white against the deep blue sky. The scene was picturesque.
In unison we said to Bonnie, “Oh, look at the mountains. How beautiful!”
To our surprise, she responded, “What about them?” We proceeded to explain how fascinating it was that the mountains seem to have a different personality every day; and, as such, looked different every day.
Bonnie looked out the car window and said, “I’ve never noticed them before.” Bonnie is a 12-year resident of Denver.
I’m always amazed how many of us fail to notice and enjoy the natural beauty that exists around us. Just this Fall season alone, I’ve observed…
- Yellowish / bright orangish sunrises
- The brisk, fresh morning dew
- Varicolored butterfly landing among a bouquet of flowers
- The sound of running water in a creek, birds chirping, and wind passing between trees, and so on.
My love for the outdoors started in Grenada as a child. We played outside quite a bit. Our teachers sometimes held class outside under trees. We spent hours at the beach, did our laundry in the river, and had cookouts…all outdoors.
Since moving to the US, I’ve had the opportunity to live and visit multiple metropolitan cities like the New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, and now Denver. The social life, culture and infrastructures in more populated cities are unparallel.
Yet each time, I find myself craving for the outdoors. I can’t escape the longing to discover life beyond the four walls of my home to see the green foliage, look into the deep blue sky and stare at the stars at night. And the older I become, the more important this becomes to me.
Why the outdoors is good for you?
It relaxes our body. The outdoors clears the mind, relaxes the body and reduces anxiety after a long day. Scientific studies show a lower level of cortisol (a hormone that indicates stress) when people go outside on a nature therapy.
It improves our health. A short walk can do wonders to our health. The fresh air increases oxygen to our brain and sunlight our vitamin D intake for FREE! The lack of vitamin D is known to cause cancer, inflammation, and weaker immune system.
It increases our energy. Stepping outdoors invigorates the mind and body. That’s because increased activity releases endorphins that are known to boost energy and combat “mental fatigue.” We also sleep better when we are more active during the awake hours.
It reduces depression. Stepping outside triggers a sense of awe, gratitude and a positive outlook of life. As a natural consequence, such moments remind us of the things that are most important.
It’s educational, beautiful and free!
Going outdoors doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple! Do some gardening over the weekend or enjoy the animals in your backyard like my friend Marshall in Florida does.
Step outside your house or apartment to explore your neighborhood and downtown. Visit a park, people watch, jog or go cycling. Take a walk on the beach, for all my island and east-west coast friends.
Spend your break time outside the office. Eat lunch on the grass or walking around the building.
Take your children on an outdoor adventure. Play, smile, laugh, take pictures or do 1 of the 15 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors This Fall.
Fall is a beautiful season. The leaves change their colors and the temperature is just right for outdoor exploring. So challenge yourself. Disconnect from your social media and electronic devices for a few hours per day.
Go outside. Relax, breathe and enjoy. Your body will thank you for it!