Importance of the Outdoors

Sophomore Meagan Kelliher goes on a hike.
Sophomore Meagan Kelliher goes on a hike.
Anna Herickhoff

State College is finally warming up with the start of spring on March 19. As the trees turn green and flowers begin to bloom, the outdoors is the perfect place to spend time. 

State High students are also excited about the spring activities on the horizon. Junior Isabel Olson shares her favorite ways to spend time outdoors. “I love to hike. I like to go on walks, backpack, camp, bike, kayak, and I hope to spend time climbing outdoors soon too,” she said. 

There’s a wide variety of outdoor activities that students appreciate.

“My favorite is biking with my friends, and then I also like running — Scotia’s my favorite […] — and also biking in Harvest Fields is a lot of fun. But just spending time in groups outside with people I enjoy being around,” sophomore Meagan Kelliher said.

Being outdoors can be excellent for your health. Studies show that spending time outside can lower blood pressure and improve sleep, according to the US Forest Service, as well as just bettering overall physical health.

“There’s so many different activities that I enjoy, and I’m not upset by the fact that I have to workout, because working out can be such an effort, especially when it’s something you don’t want to do,” Olson said. “So by doing activities I enjoy, with people I love, it doesn’t feel like I’m being active, but I’m having a good time,”

Mental health also benefits from time outdoors. Similar studies from the US Forest Service have proven that outside time can reduce stress and risk of depression.

“I really feel like it’s the most calming thing in my life, like if I’m stressed or anything, I can just go to nature, go outside; it’s like an escape for me,”  junior Sophia Reutzel said. 

Even just getting in some fresh air for a couple minutes of your day can have an impact. A study from the National Recreation and Park Association shows that as little as 20 minutes of outside time a day can reduce stress levels.

“I’d say I spend time outdoors at least every day, obviously there’s some days where I don’t have time to get outside, but I do try to make it a priority,” Reutzel said.

With summer just a few months away, it’s also a good time to put down the screens and get outside. Teenagers spend an average of over 8 hours a day on devices, at least an hour in which could be spent outdoors instead.

“I definitely feel like I can make a more conscious effort to put down my phone,” Olson said. “I feel like I need to be more aware of taking these multi-hours spent on my phone and instead taking activities outside because I know it’s better for me.”

There are so many ways to get outdoors and creative hobbies to try. In the next coming weeks with nicer weather, consider making an effort to go on a walk or bike ride, to try a new activity, or just getting outdoors and seeing the benefits.

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