Aaah. The birds are chirping. The sun is shining. The flowers are blooming. Summer is finally here. Where are you, though? If you’ve spent all winter becoming one with your couch and your favorite Netflix series, it’s time to get up, shake off the Cheeto dust, and get outside. Studies show that spending time in nature each day is likely to improve your mood, reduce stress, and even improve your physical health. Regardless of what you hope to gain from the experience, there are plenty of ways you can get back to nature this summer.
Go On a Cruise
You’re probably wondering how drinking fruity drinks on a pool deck is getting back to nature, but tropical cruises aren’t the only options you have. In fact, an Alaska cruise may be just what you need. People who have never been to Alaska tend to think of it as a frozen tundra. While there’s no doubt that it gets cold during the winter, Alaska’s temperatures are actually quite mild during the summer. When you want to go big when getting back to nature, this is the way to go. Cruises provide a wide range of nature activities, such as experiencing the beauty of 30-ton whales, flying over snow-capped glaciers, and even ziplining through the forest. Don’t worry; you won’t be away from the city for too long, as these cruises also stop at plenty of urban hotspots during your journey.
Start Your Own Garden
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at growing vegetables, there’s no better time than now. If you have space in your yard, create a small area to grow corn, tomatoes, potatoes, or anything else that you like. There’s no rule that says your garden needs to be vegetables, either. If you have planter boxes on your windows, use them to grow flowers or herbs that you enjoy. There’s another option, too. If you simply don’t have space on your property, you can join (or start!) a local community garden. Everyone pitches in, everyone reaps the benefits, and often there’s enough to donate to local food pantries as well.
Take a Hike
If someone tells you to take a hike this summer, assume they’re reminding you to get outside and take in some sunshine. There are plenty of options for hiking in most areas. Metro parks in bigger cities often have trails that are 1-3 miles long and offer a great place to get away from it all for a few hours. If you’d like longer hikes, check out some of the parks in the suburbs or small towns around your area, where trails are likely to be a few more miles long. You can even take on a major adventure like hiking part of the Appalachian Trail.
Step outside of the sweaty, stinky gym and get your workout on outside instead. If you’re looking for something that’s a leisurely pace, aim for a morning or evening walk around your neighborhood to get your 10,000 steps in. Jogging or running are other ways to get those steps in without leaving your subdivision. Are you looking for something with a bit more substance? Many parks offer exercise areas and even provide teachers who host yoga classes, aerobics classes, and more. You can even download a fitness app and work out using their guides.
Protect the Environment
All you need to do is turn on a news channel to learn how worried people are about the environment. You can do your part to help out and get your sunshine in at the same time when you spend time walking and picking up litter. Just be careful if you decide to do it along a busy road. Be sure to wear a safety vest and stay as far away from moving traffic as possible. Other options include planting native-to-your-area plants or taking up beekeeping if you’re really adventurous.
Whether you’re spending your afternoon sunbathing in your backyard while you read your favorite book or you’re taking on a high-intensity workout at the park this summer, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature, spend more time outside, and improve your overall health at the same time.