Spending time outdoors is not only good for your body, but good for your soul. The American Heart Association reports that time in nature can reduce stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and even negative social behaviors. And you don’t have to get a plane ticket to the Outback. Here are some easy ways to get reacquainted with the great outdoors in your neck of the woods.
Scheduling walks with a friend or two, not only strengthens your heart, muscles, and bones, but keeps you connected by creating regular opportunities for checking in with someone who cares. You can simply walk and catch up on daily life or set some goals as well, such as tracking steps, plucking invasive plants from a nature trail, or discussing books.
No yard is too small or too big for a garden. Don’t have a yard? Plant flowers or herbs on your patio or in a window box. Overwhelmed by caring for a lawn that doesn’t seem to bring many rewards? Replace some of that space with a vegetable patch. You will reap the benefits of healthy food while also connecting with the outdoors. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out OSU’s Extension Center and talk with a Master Gardener who can give you expert advice about planting in your area.
Wildlife is all around us. Even a crack in the ground in the middle of a busy city will grow a weed (or wildflower, depending on your perspective). You don’t have to go far to start your own list of native birds, insects, and plants. The Ohio Ornithological Society provides a list of birdwatching sites by county. Many species can be seen from your own window! Google “Ohio backyard birds” to see what you can expect to find at your feeder depending on the time of year. Maybe you’ve seen an insect that you’d like to identify? This site has catalogued over 250 creepy crawlies that can all be found in Ohio.
If you want to explore beyond your neighborhood, there are plenty of opportunities to hike, fish, watch wildlife, and relax in the healing beauty of our area’s abundant natural resources.
227.5 acres of wetlands, woodlands, and prairie just waiting for you to explore!Oakwoods Nature Preserve
Enjoy some quiet time in an intimate park with trails or breath of fresh air from a bench.Blue Rock Nature Preserve
Relax among the sycamores and soothing sounds of water, or hike the Blanchard River Greenway Trail.Waterfalls Area
Spring is in the air, and so is your good health! Don’t forget to hydrate, wear sunscreen or a hat, and breathe in the powerful medicine of fresh air.