Dear America: Go Take a Hike

Why you should spend a little more time outside


Waterfall at Purgatory Chasm

When we take a look into the recent past we can see a lot of dramatic changes when it comes to technology and the way children are brought up. We’ve seen a trend over the last twenty years where children are spending more and more time inside due to the quality of technology we have today. I don’t believe that this is an inherently bad thing; however the lack of time spent outdoors is what concerns me.

As a child, like most people my age or older, I spent most of my time enjoying the outdoors. This time was spent socializing, creating games/ things to do, and exercising. Unfortunately for children today this time spent outside is not as regular as it has been for past generations.

Photo by Zander Lowell

Children are spending more and more time inside consuming content; instead of curing their own boredom, they are spoon fed entertainment through the internet. According to SaferKidsOnline “a recent report from Common Sense Media, kids between 8-12 years of age average nearly five hours of screen time a day. For teens, that number jumps to well over seven hours.

While I don’t believe that online content is bad for you, this much screen time for such young children is concerning. This is time wasted that could be used for children to think creatively and not just consuming content.

Going out into nature brings a special kind of quiet that we rarely get to experience in our busy lives.

It’s not just children that need to spend more time outside, it’s adults too. “According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. 87% of that time is spent inside, while the other 6% is spent in automobiles. This means that only 7% of the average American’s life is spent outdoors.

This is unfortunate considering that spending time outdoors is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health and wellbeing.” Some people prefer to stay inside and that’s okay. However there are proven benefits to spending more time outdoors. With information gathered from the National Recreation and Park Association or NRPA for short I’ve learned some new information about the benefits of going outside more often. Studies have shown that spending only twenty minutes a day outside can help to reduce stress. 

Photo by Zander Lowell

The main reason I support going into nature is the quiet aspect of it. In our lives we’re constantly surrounded by noise. Whether the noise is external or internal we are constantly busy with some kind of noise and this can be stressful. Going out into nature brings a special kind of quiet that we rarely get to experience in our busy lives. A quiet walk mixed with nature’s scenery is something that a lot of people really need, however we rarely make time for such an important thing.

Throughout human history we, like many other creatures, have been creatures of the outdoors. I believe that returning to this natural environment every once in a while could be very beneficial. Setting time aside to just enjoy the miracle that is nature is something that all of us can do more often.