Why the Outdoors is Good for You

by Kelvin Belfon

Why the Outdoors is Good_image2

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?

Fall_Leavesimage by: Quest Demy

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 stimulates creativity and imagination. The outdoors sharpens our thinking, helps us dream, concentrate (this is especially the case in children after a walk in the park), and restores our memory.

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!

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to going uncomplicated, comment below or join me on Facebook.

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12 thoughts on “Why the Outdoors is Good for You

  1. Terri says:

    Wow, what a beautiful photo, Kelvin! You truly do live in a magical place. I agree with everything you wrote, so much. And I always feel sad when I am walking around the reservoir, or just sitting there with Osito and I see people talking on their phones while walking, clearly oblivious to their surroundings. They’re in a place of such beauty but it doesn’t even register.

    I have definitely found that on the days I eat outside, I am so much happier and at peace.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Terri!
      Boston has some amazing spots as well. When we lived in Melrose, we would drive over to Wakefield to walk and sometimes job around the pond. Yep, I meet people all the time who are unaware of the beauty that surrounds them. We have to stop, open our eye and observe. It’s right there before our eyes 🙂

  2. Dena Clayton says:

    Kelvin, the word pictures you paint in this piece may inspire me to walk out into the rainy yard. Certainly, I agree with your passionate support of inviting all to spend lots of time outdoors! Love the scientific facts you brought in, also.

    ~ Dena

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Oh thank you Dena! I appreciate your kind words. It’s interesting how as children we wouldn’t hesitate to play in the rain. Unless it’s a game, not sure I would now as an adult 🙂
      Hopefully it clears up where you are so you can get out. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. Andie says:

    Kelvin — yes! I have absolutely observed this with depression. Walking (particularly outdoors at night) relaxes me when nothing else can. And I have to say — I adore walking in the rain! (Assuming I intentionally set out in the rain; I do NOT like getting caught unexpectedly in the rain!)

    And don’t get me started on the beach….

    I have a love/hate relationship with the outdoors (I’m kind of a plumbing person…), but this time of year, as the leaves change here in DC, I’m always in awe. That feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Yes, the outdoors helps us relax. I enjoy going either early in the morning or in the late evening. Unlike you I don’t like walking in the rain. However, I would gladly play a game of soccer in the rain 🙂 Thanks for sharing Andie!!

  4. Beverly says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I live across from a 4,400 acre game refuge in which I hike with my dogs almost every day, no matter the weather. I’ve grown so much more observant since I started my long daily hikes, and if I miss a day, I get a bit cranky!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      4,400 acres!
      I’m glad you have the opportunity to hike, observe and explore the outdoors. That’s amazing Beverly…feeling a little jealous 🙂

  5. Liz Smith says:

    Yes to all of this Kelvin! The outdoors is my window to sanity and it’s the first place I feel pulled to go, when life “get’s complicated”.

    And you offered some wonderful and simple ways to make the outdoors more accessible for everyone.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Liz I love the way you said it, “The outdoors is my window of sanity…” This is so true for many of us. Thanks for visiting and sharing!

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