Explore 20 ways to incorporate more outdoor time into your daily schedule.
In the age of social media and constant screen time, there is a growing need to take advantage of the life benefits of outdoor time. Of course, at Outward Bound, we love spending time in the great outdoors. But you don’t have to wait until your expedition to enjoy the many perks the outdoors can bring to your life. Getting outside provides your lungs with fresh air, improves your mood, increases happiness and can even decrease anxiety. All while reducing the stress that comes with daily life and work.
It’s easy to forget that nature is a free source of enjoyment because we’re busy, but the good news is you don’t have to take hours off of work or school or dedicate a whole day planning a multi-day backpacking trip to spend time outside. By setting intentional strategies around your daily routines, time outside can be easily integrated into your day-to-day life.
These 20 easy activities will help you fit more outdoor time into your daily schedule. With spring arriving, it’s the perfect time to start fresh with some sun-filled habits. Read up then lace up and head out the door!
1. Bike to Work or School
Get your heart pumping with an energy-filled way to get from one place to the other. Riding through fresh air and avoiding those pesky traffic jams will help you start your day with a clear mind.
2. Outdoor Lunch Break
Step outside with your lunch and find a bench or picnic table to enjoy taking in some nature. Enjoy the walk back to your daily routine with more energy and focus to take on the second half of the day.
3. Time to Cook
If you have a grill, fire it up and cook outside! Grab a picnic blanket or outdoor table to enjoy your meal, maybe even invite some friends. Need some recipes? We’ve got them!
4. Take Your Workout in the Sun
Skip the treadmill and take your walk or run outside. You can explore new neighborhoods this way and discover new trails while you’re at it! Be sure to drink lots of water.
5. Car Wash…Home Edition
Make those chores a bit more fun. Grab some suds and a bucket and wash off the trail mud from your car.
6. Homework, News, Reading
Take your reading time outside and enjoy the sounds of nature. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
7. Time to Paint and Draw
Grab a canvas or a notebook and sit outside and paint. Allow your mind to focus on nature and let your creativity come to life.
8. Explore a Local Park
Chances are, there are probably some great trails around you that you haven’t heard of yet. Consider using an app like All Trails or simply googling local trails that may be just around the corner.
9. Start a Garden
Gardening is one of the simplest ways to get outside because you have to care for your plants daily. Don’t have enough space? Consider potting some plants near your doorstep.
10. Hike With a Friend
Invite some friends along and set some time to talk and walk. Sharing the outdoors is a great way to build relationships and strengthen bonds.
11. Outdoor Movie Theatre
Take your iPad or computer outside and set up an outdoor movie night. This could be a fun way to enjoy your favorite shows while breathing in the fresh air. Don’t forget the popcorn! Check out these films.
12. Swing Time
Need some thinking time? Find a local playground and enjoy the swing set again. Have fun and be a kid again!
13. Yoga in the Park
Take your mat and practice outside. What better way to find peace than being in nature? Find some shade and take a water bottle with you.
14. Stargazing Time
When was the last time you looked up? Find a peaceful spot out of the city to stargaze. Count the stars, bring a constellation book, or try to find any visible planets. Check out these night sky locations.
15. Coffee Time
Spend your morning coffee or tea time by sitting and sipping outside! Grab a chair and watch the world.
16. Walk the Dog
Dedicate a mini-walk every day with your fluffy pet!
17. Find an Outdoor Hobby
Look up what social sports may be in your neighborhood—tennis, softball, archery, etc. Tons of local clubs sport outside and are available for a range of ages.
18. Find It Outside, Journal It!
From bird hunting to cloud watching, there are several ways you can look for things outside and make it a long-term game. How many birds can you find in your neighborhood?
19. Set a Step Goal
Challenge your friends or just yourself and try to get as many steps outside as you can each week. There are several fitness trackers and smartwatches out there—you may already have one.
20. Picture It
Take your camera outside and enjoy some nature photography. Take a class or just start snapping – unleash your creative side. Check out these pictures by a 2021 Outward Bound Alum.
An Hour a Day
Choosing to venture outside daily will undoubtedly improve your overall well-being, but you will have to schedule it and make time for it. Perhaps you’ll notice a change in your energy levels, your mood, maybe even your inspiration for creativity! Remember every new habit requires practice which brings progress and leads to change.
Invite those around you to join in on the outdoor fun or maybe even keep a journal of ways you’ve integrated being outside to see your progress.
Finally, we hope to inspire as many people as possible to incorporate more outdoor time into their daily lives and work towards preserving nature’s beauty for future generations. Whether you bike outside, eat outside or run outside, remember to follow Leave No Trace guidelines and recreate responsibly!
About the Author
Hanna McCarthy is a former Outward Bound Instructor and now lives and works in Philly with her husband, Nick, and two dogs, Jelly and Waffle. She finds time each year to surf in new places and enjoys spending time with friends and family. Hanna now splits her career between a corporate job and teaching yoga, finding balance in her life.
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