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8 Ways To Get Outdoors More In 2019

Go outside, even if it's for five minutes at a time.

Even if you're a "New Year's resolutions are trash" type of person, it's always a good idea to make a goal to get out into nature more.

You do you, but listen: there's no way of guaranteeing that 2019 will be better than 2018, but the benefits of spending time outdoors are backed by science. It improves your mood, makes you more productive, and even helps your body fight infection — and all of this can happen with even short spurts of exposure to Mother Nature!

Here are some doable and fun ways to spend more time outside in 2019:

1. Get into a nature-based hobby, like geocaching or orienteering.

Eureka_89 / Getty Images

I recently learned about orienteering, a competitive sport that's like a combination of racing and navigation. It teaches you key life skills, like how to use a compass and traverse unknown terrain, and most importantly, has you running around in the woods like Shrek and Donkey looking for blue flowers with red thorns. Geocaching, aka outdoor treasure hunts using GPS coordinates, has been around forever, which just means you've got a lot of catching up to do if you want to get into it.

2. Or join an outdoorsy club, like one for hiking, running, kayaking, or biking.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Hiking in a group is a particularly good idea — it's safer, there are more people to carry supplies, and you can have fun, random conversations. For any of these, though, they not only get you outside, but they also are a great way to meet people in your community. Win-win!

3. Look for accidental nature in your everyday life.

Tom Vellner / BuzzFeed

It can be hard to get the time and access to nature that you want, but every little bit counts. If you're in a meeting at work, pick a seat that looks out onto some trees. If you're making your morning stop at Starbucks, take a second to admire the shrubbery outside. Take your phone calls outside on a stroll or a bench, or even put some potted plants on your desk.

4. Visit your local or city park as often as you can.

Cincinnati Parks

As Florence Williams writes in The Nature Fix, just 15–45 minutes in a city park is enough to improve mood, vitality, and feelings of restoration. Pretty much every city or town has some kind of park, many of which are really freakin' cool, so go explore the ones around you (or your local zoos and botanic gardens) and take in all of the activities they have to offer.

5. Try your hand at gardening.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Green thumb, schmeen thumb. It's a lot easier to get into gardening than Oprah's Instagram makes it seem, and there are tons of hacks out there that'll have you growing giant carrots in no time. Plus, gardening is as good for your mind and soul as it is for the ground.

6. Hang out with some bees.

Unsplash

Bees love your gardens, but if you don't have the time and space to have one (it's fine, I get it), that's OK! You can find a local beekeeper and go check out the bees in action someplace near you. Or just visit a garden! Do both!

7. Invest in an annual National Parks pass.

Brianlasenby / Getty Images, National Parks Service

There are 60 gorgeous parks in the NPS filled with mountains, trees, and stunning natural features you can't find anywhere else in the world, and the America the Beautiful pass gets you into all of them for $80 a year. It covers entry into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, so you don't even have the "but I don't live near a park" excuse. And if you're a competitive bitch who loves gamifying things (no judgment, I'm right there with you), get a parks passport that'll incentivize you to visit as many as you can.

8. And if you take a trip, go somewhere that will give you access to nature.

Photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

"If you have time for a vacation, don’t go to a city. Go to a natural area. Try to go one weekend a month," Qing Li, an immunologist in the department of environmental medicine at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, says in The Nature Fix. Li knows from research that spending time in nature increases disease-killing NK cells, promotes happiness and reduces stress. So even if you're not down to clown in a national park, make time to go to a beach, a farm, or on a camping trip.

As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.