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Get Out

by on April 17, 2013

Today’s the letter ‘O’ in the A to Z blog challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride thus far–we’re more than halfway.

I decided to do something different as I thought about today’s topic: Outside.

A lot of athletic folk have no trouble going for a run or heading out to the gym. They live for it. But the point of my blog is that I am not always eager to go workout, or take a long walk, or even go outside. Those of us with a sedentary lifestyle struggle against our lazy flesh just to get started, let alone get a good workout.

So I started thinking of a top ten list, with reasons to brave the wide world outside. Here we go:

Top ten reasons to get out the door:

10. Vitamin D! Getting out into the sunlight helps your body utilize this vitamin, which is essential for bone health among other things. It helps us absorb all that calcium in our milk or nowadays in our orange juice. I’m thinking of this because I’m in the process of trying to heal from bone fusion surgery, and it turns out my vitamin D level was way low. Indoor hobbies like video games and computer usage do not help. Low vitamin D is a noted trend among young people, especially those who spend a lot of time playing games. Believe me, I know that the other players in Call of Duty or Battlefield need head shots, and the guild in World of Warcraft really needs some sweet healing skills. But having healthy bones is kind of important.

9. Stargazing. Depending on where you’re at and how safe you feel, getting out at night can be fantastic scenery. I’d advise a buddy system and a cell phone, and I’d suggest sticking to tracks or paved surfaces less likely to trip someone up. If I want to connect to a sense of something greater, something bigger than myself, getting a view full of the vastness of the galaxy is a sure bet.

8. Discovery. When I jog or walk, I often find new places or sights that I have passed by unaware for years. On Okinawa, I encountered numerous historical sites on-base, or hiked to new places off-base. I learned interesting tidbits of history that kept my brain engaged and distracted me from the work my body was doing.

7. Fresh air. Sometimes I need to feel the breeze on my face, to catch a breath of– well, probably pollution since most of my life has been around cities. But it still does me good to step out the door of the house and move, stepping out of the sometimes stagnant air in the house, into the flowing currents of the outdoors. It’s especially good after a rainstorm.

6. Endorphins make me happy, scenery makes me calm. We all probably have heard about the chemicals the brain releases when we work out. Endorphins are a mental reward, the “high” we naturally produce after good, hard work. When I get this good feeling while enjoying the outdoors, I get an added benefit. Getting a good view of natural beauty helps my mind set aside the stresses of daily life.

5. Bunnies! Here in Omaha, we have tons of them. Maybe bunnies aren’t your thing, but no doubt you can get to see some wildlife depending on where you go. In the suburbs of Chicago, one town built a man-made lake that has a perfect walking or jogging trail. Flocks of ducks and geese swarm to the lake each year, and they have a botanical garden set up on site. Find out what’s in the local area and go for a stroll.

4. Inspiration. Being out and about gives me time to think, and ideas bounce around in my head. My personal writing and work projects are there in the back of my mind, and I can mull over what to do with them. Sometimes, I’ll see an unusual sight or encounter something perfectly mundane that spurs my thoughts in a new direction. Other times, I can “listen” with all five senses, learning how to speak to each one in my writing and making note of the experiences I enjoy outdoors.

3. Exercise. Hey, I’m still getting the benefit of moving around. I’m doing something that I’ll feel good about later, and making muscles do some work. Nature is notoriously varied and difficult at times. Steep hills work the legs hard, winding roads increase our distance compared to a straight track. Changing winds can present added resistance to give me a better workout (whether I want one or not).

2. Distance from distractions. Getting away from the normal can free us when we come back, like how stepping away from a project to return with fresh eyes can result in new insights. Removing myself from all the hubbub and distraction lets me deal with it better later.

1. Sunsets and sunrises. My favorite aspect to getting outside is seeing the array of colors as the sunlight plays in the clouds. Deep purples and glowing oranges, stark reds and shining golds–it’s all exquisite. The air is cooler, crisper than during the day. My sensitive eyes don’t need sunglasses in the dim light. I get to enjoy one of the best shows on earth, and it gets broadcast twice every day.

That’s some of why I get out. I’m not going to lie; I like to stay in, to keep playing another round of games. But as my wife might say, the princess is still going to be in another castle later.

How about you? What reasons motivate you to step outside and enjoy the world? Drop me a comment to let me know.


From → Get Moving

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