Happy New Year Family!
It is officially 2022 and I am feeling super excited and ready for the New Year. 2021 was a whirlwind of adventure for myself personally and for Black Girls Hike. We’ve travelled to 6 different states in 9 months, met hundreds of people from all places of the world, partnered with Goomsbay Adverturers for #OptOutdoors (a movement that I knew nothing about until this year!), and we’ve made memories and experiences that I would never imagine actually happening to me. This was our 1st official year operating as a group and there are so many lessons I have learned that will stick with me for life.
· Things may never go according to plan – learn to adapt.
· Patience – the world doesn’t operate on Asia’s time.
· Appreciate right now; Later has yet to come and can change in an instant.
· Always pack a raincoat – mountain weather can be unpredictableJ
· Leaders are judged by their actions and ability to execute – the journey is always one step at a time. I saw myself grow as a leader and I’m super proud of all the uncomfortable moments that helped me grow in leadership.
Above all, I am GRATEFUL for it all.
I ended 2021 with a hike in Potomac, MD along the Potomac River with a college friend. The trail we hiked was about 4.4 miles in total and was named “Bear Island Loop via Billy Goat Trail A” And when I tell yall that it was exactly what I needed….it was EXACTLY what I needed. I almost forgot what it felt like to just be outside. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do for BGH and I love the connections I get to make because of the group but it was really refreshing to not have to coordinate anything, plan anything, account for 20+ people, host, etc.
I feel inspired again. We sat by the river side reminiscing about old college friends and just talked about where we are in life today vs where we were in life 7+ years ago. I feel strong again. We did some free-handed rock climbing and made it to the top! I feel ready for more adventure.
One my drive back home, I began to think about everything listed above and how inspired I felt after the hike and just wondered why that was the case. Being outdoors really does wonders for your mental health and this was a time where I truly felt the effects. Below are a few benefits of being outdoors.
1. Increased Vitamin D levels – soaking up the sun
It is no secret in knowing that the sun is the natural healer of all things. Vitamin D is a common vitamin that most people don’t get enough of. According to Healthline, about 40% of American people are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is essential for immune functions, calcium absorption, and protecting bone, muscle, and heart health.
2. Being outdoors burns more calories
I’ve burned 721 calories in 4.54 miles and 3hrs. Where else am I going to burn those types of calories?? I checked my Nike Club running app and a typical 5 mile run for me averages 549 calories burned.
When outside, your body can consume oxygen and process CO2 (carbon dioxide) a lot faster and more efficiently, burning more calories than you would indoors.
3. It boosts your creativity
The outside world engages your attention in a quieter way that lets your attention refocus. During our official hikes, I usually play music from my speaker to get the crowd going and motivation. This time, I hiked with no music and just listened to the nature sounds outside. You notice so much more! From the trees creaking in the wind, to the slightest shuffle in the grass next to you. Your mind automatically goes to work because wtf is that right!?!? Very subtle yet intense brain work and you don’t even know it.
4. Being in nature boosts life satisfaction
Studies show that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear and stress while increasing pleasant feelings. Being outdoors gives you the chance to break away from the sensory overload of the cellphone, computer, or tv (which has been linked to depression in extreme cases) and allows you to decompress and just look around to appreciate life itself.
Whenever you're feeling uninspired, sad, angry, or just looking for a healthy workout...go ahead and get outside. You'll feel much better after you're done. I promise :)
What are some other benefits to being outdoors? Let us know in the comments below!
Until next time!