There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors, from lowered blood pressure and reduced stress, to improved focus and mood. In fact, spending time in nature has shown such positive effects that some doctors have begun prescribing nature to patients.
So for those of us looking to make nature part of our week, how can we easily integrate it into our regular lives?
1. Schedule it in.
Start by setting time aside each week to stay on track. How much time? Doctors suggest you spend 120 minutes outside a week to reap the benefits. Start prioritizing time outdoors the same way you might prioritize the gym, adding it to your weekly calendar or schedule book, and committing to the time you’ve scheduled in.
2. Find your favourite spot.
Whether it’s based on proximity, difficulty level of the trails, or a personal connection to the land, loving where you’re going is important. At FortWhyte Alive, our visitors choose us for a variety of reasons — our location within city limits, our mission to share environmental education, or the wide range of wildlife that live here. Plus, their membership means they’re part of a community of like-minded people.
3. Share it with people you love.
Finding a nature buddy or outdoor adventurer will help keep you accountable and motivated. Together, start adapting your plans to include going outside — get your coffee to go and take it to the trails, or make lunch a picnic to eat lakeside at FortWhyte. Once you’ve found your nature buddy, surprise them with a gift membership to FortWhyte Alive so you can get started today.
4. Make it fun.
Moving your favourite hobby outside or finding a new one can give your time in nature more purpose. Bring a book to read on a bench with a view, or rent a pair of snowshoes to try exploring a little differently. You can even make a bucket list of activities you want to try outside this season and see how many you can accomplish!
5. Reflect on your experience.
Think about how you feel before and after spending time in nature. What do you notice? Do your problems feel as large, or your bones feel as stiff? Keep track of your experiences and watch how nature heals. If you start to question the benefits of being outdoors, refer back to your notebook of experiences to remind yourself that every minute in nature is worth it.