The Many Whys: Why I Prioritize Time in the Outdoors

A quick Google search reveals many articles about why a person should spend time in the outdoors – many of which are backed up by quotes from studies and scientists around the world touting the benefits. While this article may not have the quantitative data to back it up, here’s some not-so-scientific reasons why choosing to prioritize time in the outdoors is so important.

Sanity

In a fast-paced world with everything is at our fingertips, life can get overwhelming. We are constantly bombarded with emails, text messages and phone calls that either expect a) an immediate response, or b) an explanation as to why there was no response immediately. Leaving all the technology at home and getting to spend time in the outdoors, whether on land or on the water, is a great way to help keep us sane and give our minds time to decompress (bonus points for getting out on an adventure with zero cell service – no way to feel guilty about not answering those messages when there is no way to do so!)

Spending a few days out of cell service gives you the opportunity to reconnect with family and nature.
Spending a few days out of cell service gives you the opportunity to reconnect with family and nature.

Health

The outdoors is outstanding for both mental and physical health, particularly in the cold and dark winter months, when it can be so easy to find yourself cooped up inside. While not a cure-all, it’s amazing what a little fresh air can do to revitalize the spirits. Not to mention those 10-day mountain hunting trips where both your mental and physical strength is truly tested. For me personally, I couldn’t care less about driving to a gym somewhere – but give me a backpack and a mountain, and I’m all over it.

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Hiking through an old burn.
Hiking through an old burn.

Environment

For all the flack meat eaters get, some of the best conservationists in the world are humble hunters and sport fishers. You would be hard pressed to find a group of people who care more about the Earth and water, flora and fauna, more than hunters and fishermen. Preserving our wild spaces for generations to come is hugely important, for both our planet and our families.

Even the simplest meals taste better outside.
Even the simplest meals taste better outside.

Connection

Some of the best memories I hold come from the many camping, hunting and fishing trips taken with friends and family. There is nothing like spending a few days in close quarters, lacking the creature comforts of home, to see a someone’s true self come out – for better and for worse! The storytelling that occurs around the flickering flames of a campfire is a unique opportunity to have an uninterrupted moment to learn more about friends, family, and sometimes even complete strangers.

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Sometimes the cure for life's worries is a weekend away at the cabin.
Sometimes the cure for life’s worries is a weekend away at the cabin.

Good food

In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” And while I appreciate knowing exactly where my meat, berries and mushrooms come from, there is one not-so-scientific fact that I know to be very true: it’s that food tastes better when it’s cooked outside. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if you are having a feast of crab fresh from the ocean or just trying to scarf down your food inside a tent because the hornets are so bad (speaking from experience), food just tastes better cooked outside.

Steak, potatoes and corn. The simple pleasures in life.
Steak, potatoes and corn. The simple pleasures in life.