1 in 15 say they spend less than five minutes outside per day! These numbers improve a bit in summer; in winter…it’s easy to come up with excuses not to venture outside.
Are you are one of the six percent who needs to dramatically increase your outdoor time. Who needs some sunlight, exercise, fresh air, and the emotional benefits of connecting with nature? Here are some easy tips to increase your outdoor time during a visit to the Interpretive Center this November.
1) Yes, it’s cold. Bundle up! A brisk round trip walking from your car in the parking lot past sagebrush and native grasses to the door of the interpretive center adds 2 minutes to your daily allotment of nature time. If you’re warm enough, you can extend that time by walking at a leisurely pace.
2) When you get out of the car, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, look around at the plants and the landscape. If you’re alone, comment to yourself on the weather conditions. If you’re with someone else, comment “Wow, it’s _______” (Windy! Beautiful! Bright! Really Cold! Delightful! Your own words here!) Add another 30 seconds.
3) Capture your visit with a photo. Using your camera, or maybe your phone, or take a mental picture by noting details and composing a description for a journal, blog, internet posting, or conversation. For your picture, try something different. Do you usually like big sweeping landscapes? Then try a close up of a plant or rock, or animal tracks. Close -up or portrait specialists can try a photo of a cloudscape. Another 2-3 minutes outside.
4) Stop and touch a plant. Textures are a wonderful way to experience nature. Whether with a gloved hand, or bravely taking hands out of the pocket for a moment, stop and feel a piece of sagebrush or a stem of grass. Try to describe it. Add another minute.
5) Get a cup of hot cocoa or hot coffee at the Oregon Trail Shop, then step outdoors on the patio with an beautiful view of the majestic, snow-capped Elkhorn Ridge to the west while you enjoy your hot drink. 5 minutes.
6) This November the loop trail is a bit torn up due to construction, but other trails are open. A walk on the trail around the wagon encampment will add 7-10 minutes to your outside time. A serious hike from top of the hill to the Oregon Trail ruts will add about 45 minutes! And a quick visit from your car to the Oregon Trail ruts using the Access Trail from Hwy 86 will add about 5 minutes.
Excellent – even by just driving here and getting out of your car, you are part of the 72% of American adults who went outside at least once today.