Benefits of Being Outside

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend.

Mondays can be tough, and beyond this fact there are many life situations which cause stress to enter into our lives. Studies have suggested that proximity to greenspace and exposure to natural environments can be associated with many mental health benefits including mood and self-esteem boosts, lower levels of stress, and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s even been shown that spending time being immersed in the outdoors has resulted in feelings of awe and inspiration. Personally, I often feel more relaxed, recharged, optimistic, and often inspired when I surround myself in nature while running, hiking, or walking.

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For city-dwellers like me, it can be difficult to get out of the city and be exposed to wilderness. But Mark and I are going to head to the great outdoors as much as possible over the next few months. I challenge you to do the same! Our greenspace mission started with a memorable hike in the New Hampshire White Mountains last weekend. I found that during the hike, being completely immersed in nature enabled me to feel the sense of escape from the typical demands and stressors of daily life. Having a connectedness with the outdoors helped promote the experience of “being away”, which resulted in a significant positive mental shift! 

Some hikes last fall:2015-09-treetops-day-2-5C29E4B6C-4B5D-4726-8E69-27F3AC10E963

While we are fortunate to live within a couple of hours of some beautiful mountains and hiking trails, you don’t have to travel too far from your home towns to be in greenspace. Do a quick search for recommended trails and parks that are closer to home and begin your adventure there! I do what I can during the week and set aside some time each day to spend time in Boston’s greenspace areas during my runs or cross-training. On the weekends, it is easier to plan for outdoor excursions away from the city.

Last weekend’s hike in NH:IMG_1734IMG_1735

Remember: every day is a new opportunity to start again! Get outside when you can, immerse yourself in nature, and you will feel the benefits of the experience.

How do you feel after spending time in the great outdoors?

Where is one place you’d love to hike? I would love to hike in Nepal one day! But, there’s nothing like the NH Whites :)

Any exciting plans for the week? I am spending a few days with the fam before heading to Ontario for my first trail marathon on Saturday! More on that in another post :)

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56 thoughts on “Benefits of Being Outside”

  1. I’ve only been hiking a few times. We have some nice state parks in SC within a reasonable drive but we just don’t go to them very often! Those mountains look so beautiful and so does that Fall scene with all the leaves (do you live there? It’s really beautiful!). It makes me wish for cooler weather to get outside more!

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  2. Random question not really related to your post, but have you run the BAA Half? Registration is this week and I’m toying with it, but wanted to get some info on the course first.

    Blog related- I actually haven’t been hiking in at least 10 years and I used to love it. I should work on that! I love the national parks out west!

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    1. I haven’t actually run the BAA half but have heard great things! All of the BAA-run races are very well run and bring lots of competition and crowds. You should go for it! Also a great time of year to race :) Let me know if you end up signing up!

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  3. agreeeee Hundo P with you on the outdoors — it’s my haven/favorite place to be, too, and i leave NYC most weekends to either go upstate or else to the beach. nothing like some fresh air and greenery! i haven’t hiked in ages and keeping saying i want to do more of it — hopefully this summer/fall.

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  4. I don’t go hiking often but I am addicted to the outdoors. When I became a runner in 2008, it awoke something in me and I find everything you have said above to be true. It really makes me feel alive. I am a beast of the earth and I need regular doses of “outdoors” to keep me in touch with my true self. Why I waited until I was 52 years old to figure that out, I’ll never know. Have a great time with your trail marathon!

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  5. This time of year is blissful outside. The only problem I have with it are the BUGS! I went trail running two days ago and got a bunch of bites (and this was a VERY MODEST trail, we ain’t talking jungle). I would love to hike the Appalachian Trail someday

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  6. I agree 100%!! There is something so magical about being outdoors. I think that’s why I love my outdoor runs so much (especially the dirt road / trail runs). Even though I’m working out, there is something so relaxing about it. I haven’t gone hiking, but would love to! I’m so terrified of running into bears, etc. though lol ;).

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      1. I am from NH originally and I have most of the Presidentials, excluding Mt. Washington. My favorite is Mt. Lafayette, hands down. It is a challenging hike but you will be rewarded with stunning summit views that continue along the ridge. You can actually hike up Lafayette and cross the ridge to Mt. Lincoln. Have you hiked it?

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  7. Lovely post! I love outdoors, but it sure gets challenging with school and work. However, your post reminds me why I feel so get when I somehow manage to get outdoors. So, every time I find myself making excuses as to why I can’t be finding a bit of a time to be with nature, I will look at your posts and find inspiration. Thank you!!

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  8. Lovely post. I agree the countryside is fantastic for the mind. I am lucky enough to live in a small rural town in the Cotswolds, England so we have beautiful walks/runs on our doorstep. All my runs are on small country roads so I have the birds singing and animals grazing as my everyday scenery:-). Probably why I’m such a laid-back person!!
    (Amy – please don’t wish autumn on us – we haven’t had any summer yet!!)

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    1. You are so lucky! Is there much hiking around there too? By the way, my fiancé and I are heading to the UK in the early fall and can’t wait to explore the Cotswolds and SE countryside!

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      1. Yes you can hike around here – there is the ‘Cotswold Way’ which is a national trail over 100 miles long and goes right past my house! (I haven’t walked it yet). However anywhere in the UK is fairly easy to reach. The Brecon Beacons in South Wales are less than 70 miles away and very beautiful, for larger hills and mountains there’s the Lake District which is North of England and Snowdonia in North Wales. There’s loads to explore in the UK. How long will you be here? Bristol and Bath are beautiful cities if you have time. [There aren’t many hills in the SE though!:-)]

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  9. I’m going through a lot right now, so it really helps to get outside. I’m in New England, and the weather has been great so far. There is a path along the water right outside my office at work. So I go for a walk out there every day. I have hiked in New Hampshire a few times. The most memorable one was when we accidentally climbed Mount Pemigewasset. We were looking for the Flume Gorge, but made a wrong turn somewhere, and we kept going further and further up the mountain. We figured out we were on the wrong track, but said “screw it”, and we went the rest of the way up. And what a beautiful view when we got to the top!

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  10. Getting outside is oh so important! Whether you’re in a city or the in the mountains, I’m a huge fan of getting a good dose of vitamin D. Your NH pictures totally make me a little home sick. There’s a running trail here in Maryland that I absolutely love. It’s all wooded and makes you feel like you’re in the mountains!

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  11. I am part of a newly formed blended family, so I have 4 kids ( 3 teens). During our first year together we have been able to sneak in camping and hiking in almost 10 states (we go to Alabama at the end of the month). I find it to be rejuvenating for all of us. Nature does a body good!

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  12. Hi Jane, So glad I found your blog! I want to give a little plug for some local trails ( and I mean really local!). The Middlesex Fells Reservation has some really beautiful and surprisingly rocky/hilly trails. You can do several miles on some of the circuit trails. I grew up in the area and am just now really starting to explore it, thx to some of the newly formed local trail running organizations. Have you heard of the Vert Trail Series? Anyway, Breakheart Reservation in Saugus is much smaller but also super fun to explore with creeks, lakes, and interesting stone ruins. I highly recommend! I’m new to this blogging thing, and Jane you are quite the inspiration! I may hit you up for advice from time to time if you’re ok with that!

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