With the longer and warmer days, our planet is calling out for us to explore more! Before you begin reading this piece, I encourage you to think about the last time you were outdoors in nature. What did you do? What did it sound like? But more importantly, how did you feel after the outdoor experience? Did the words “joy”, “happy”, “connected”, or “refreshed” come up? I suspect some of those words and other positive words came up. For me personally, especially during this last year, getting outside has been a huge contributor to maintaining my mental health. Whether it was me taking my workouts outdoors, exploring a new park in the city, going for my sunrise walks by the water, or sitting in the outdoors reading a book. There is a powerful magic that comes from being in the outdoors on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Research suggests that getting outdoors for 120 minutes per week (17 minutes a day) can significantly contribute to our health (White et al., 2019). Even five minutes in nature is all it takes for our brain to start to think differently and for our bodies to experience more relaxation (White et al., 2019). Getting outdoors for adults and kids offers both our bodies and minds great rewards such as better sleep, increased focus and creativity, decreased stress, and improved heart health (Hunynh et al., 2013).

Each of us has had different experiences with nature and individual reasons driving us to connect more with the outdoors, but here are 10 ways to keep yourself, kids, and communities moving in the great outdoors:

  1. Explore a park or hiking trail you have never been to.
  2. Try our “Get Your Run On” program (available in the BOKS Trainer Hub).
  3. Take your lunch or dinner outdoors for a picnic.
  4. Build an obstacle course in your backyard.
  5. Try our “BOKS Bootcamp” outdoors (available in the BOKS Trainer Hub).
  6. Go on a walk and collect rocks to paint. I’ve seen so many in communities with positive messages for others to see and it always puts a smile on my face.
  7. Try Geocaching.
  8. Take movement flows and mindfulness to a green space.
  9. Have a dance party outdoors, no matter the weather. Check out @GurdeepPandher on Twitter- their daily dances in nature inspire me.
  10. Nature scavenger hunt. Try ours (available in the BOKS Trainer Hub)!

The pandemic has added and continues to add, stress and uncertainty into our lives. Many of us are experiencing the emotional long haul of COVID-19, especially after a long winter. Being outside is one of the easiest ways to improve our well-being. With the weather becoming nicer and the sunshine shining down, BOKS challenges you to get outdoors more and soak up all the benefits Mother Nature has to offer!

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BOKS Regional Coordinator – Central Canada

White, M. P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B. W., Hartig, T., Warber, S. L., … & Fleming, L. E. (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific reports9(1), 1-11.
Huynh, Q., Craig, W., Janssen, I., & Pickett, W. (2013). Exposure to public natural space as a protective factor for emotional well-being among young people in Canada. BMC public health13(1), 1-14.