In our ever-increasingly digital world, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine that revolves around staying indoors. Many people, in fact, are very much glued to their devices, completely entranced by their screens.
Of course, it’s not all bad: digital technology has helped us connect with one another, has made information more accessible to many, and has improved a lot of aspects of our daily life.But what happens when a person spends too much time on their screen and not focused on the world around them?
Aside from the unhealthy physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a routine of sitting at home or the office and staring at a computer all day has unhealthy psychological effects as well.
Unfortunately, such is the case for many people, with day jobs requiring inordinate amounts of screen time. But there are ways to counteract the negative effects of staying indoors for more than 40 hours a week.
Picking up an outdoor hobby is one way of getting you out of your chair and into the world. Depending on the activity, it can keep you physically fit, and help break the routine of office life.
But outdoor hobbies have a host of other benefits too:
Outdoor Hobbies Relieve Stress
By nature, a hobby is a completely pleasurable activity that helps you take your mind off your routine and presents an opportunity for you to purge yourself of negative emotions and thoughts.
An outdoor hobby has the added benefit of putting you in touch with nature, further decreasing your stress by surrounding you with greenery, sunlight, and fresh air. While those might sound trivial, there’s actually science behind it: psychologists have found a direct correlation between stress reduction and nature.
Researchers from the University of Madrid found that people who exercised outdoors had higher levels of oxytocin, the body’s natural happy pill. While the explanation behind this has yet to be fully explored, researchers theorize that humans are subconsciously, but inextricably, linked to nature. This means that every time we receive visual and physical stimuli that are linked to natural things like trees and lakes and clear skies, our brains tell us that this is exactly where we need to be.
But how does feeling good make you healthier? Well, oxytocin lowers our heart rate and reduces swelling in muscles, making us feel more relaxed and less prone to strain. Even if your outdoor hobby requires a moderate amount of physical activity, like trekking or football, the fact that you’re outside and enjoying nature is enough for your body to go into a more relaxed, and ultimately healthier, mode.
Outdoor Hobbies Clear Your Mind
Certain outdoor hobbies, like fishing, require you to be in slightly remote locations, with only you and your thoughts as company. While this may seem lonely at first, there’s actually a good reason why more people should do this: it gives your brain time to process.
Because our brains are constantly working, it can be overloaded with too much information from time to time. By being outdoors doing your hobby, your brain can go into autopilot and sift through all the other information you gathered throughout your day or week in the background.
This is important because it gives your brain an opportunity to take a short break. Mental fatigue can cause people to feel confused, heavy, depressed, and even agitated. By finding an outdoor activity that puts you in peaceful situations, you give your brain a chance to recover from the drudgery of the week and give it time to efficiently process all the information it has received.
This helps you become sharper in your everyday life: because your brain isn’t as tired as it used to be, it can process complex information faster and help you maximize your mental capacity.
Outdoor Hobbies are an Opportunity to Learn New Things
One of the worst things about work is that it can become repetitive and boring. While this may seem like a small problem, the pressure of this builds up over time and becomes detrimental to both your physical and psychological health.
To counter this, outdoor hobbies offer you a chance to learn something new and practice something that is outside your day-to-day experience. Not only does this get you physically fit, it also provides you an opportunity to explore your innate talents and sharpen your critical thinking by learning something new.
Outdoor hobbies offer you a chance to elevate yourself both physically and mentally by challenging you in ways that office work might not be able to do. And the best part? There’s no pressure to be the best at it! Outdoor hobbies are supposed to be fun, so the need to be an overachiever is unnecessary.
Outdoor Hobbies can Improve Your Career
It might seem strange, counter-intuitive even, that taking time away from work can actually be good for your career, but it’s true. Researchers found that employees and executives who set aside a small amount of time every weekend for their outdoor hobbies earn more and advance through their career path faster.
Why does this happen? One theory is that people with a healthy work-life balance can handle stress more effectively, thus freeing them up mentally to think of creative and out-of-the-box ideas for work. Another is that outdoor hobbies teach people to be driven about something they’re passionate about.
Because outdoor hobbies reduce stress, it increases your overall happiness, thus preventing burnout from work. It makes sense: no matter how stressed you are during the week, if you have an outdoor hobby to look forward to during the weekend, it gives you a reason to breathe easier during work.
Outdoor hobbies don’t necessarily have to be physically straining, they can also be mentally stimulating. What is important is that you take time out of your day or your week to be outside and engaging in an activity that is pleasurable, mentally stimulating, physically engaging, and overall spiritually pleasing.
What are your favorite outdoor hobbies? Share your story with us by hitting us up at the comments section below!