Recently I went away for a ski weekend to New Hampshire with five of my girlfriends. There was a lot of laughter but what we didn’t do was actually get outside and ski. We meant to; our cross country skis, snowshoes and boots were neatly packed in the trunk. We just didn’t use them, opting instead to get cozy indoors and talk.
The Nature Conservancy partnered with Women’s Health magazine on a survey examining our relationship with the “Great Outdoors.” We found that getting outside doesn’t come – “pardon the pun” – naturally to many of us.
When asked what they’d do with a day to themselves, for example, twice as many people would meet friends for a meal than would meet them for a hike. And if they aren’t hanging with friends, people are more likely to spend a day off curled up in front of the TV or at the movies than outdoors.
We aren’t making the connection between nature and alleviating stress, either. In fact, the survey found that stressed-out people were much more likely to do passive activities, even though both exercise and the outdoors are proven stress-relievers.
So what’s stopping them? It turns out that weather – “too hot, too cold, too rainy” – is the biggest obstacle to getting outside, edging out even a busy schedule. While understandable, it doesn’t bode well for the future of nature. If climate change is successful at driving more people inside, fewer people will bond with nature, and fewer people will be inspired to protect it (click here to read stories of women who are working for nature).
Luckily, getting outside is easy. Check out a list of top 10 trails for running, or just enjoying nature. And to motivate us all, Women’s Health is spending the next 30 days Tweeting tips to help making getting outside simpler and more fun (look for #getoutside on Twitter).
I know that I’ll be following along – will you?
Photo submitted by: Kerry Crisly/TNC (The author (third from left) and her book club at the “Diva Dash” a 5k obstacle course they did together last September. They’re already planning to do it again this year!
Kerry Crisley is Associate Director of Strategic Communications for The Nature Conservancy. This post recently appeared on the Planet Change blog, devoted to enhancing the conversation on climate change and inspiring actions of all sizes. Opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.