Nature as medicine: a challenge

There’s a good reason that spending time outside usually leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed—actually several good reasons. According to various studies1, being in nature may:

  • Help improve your memory
  • Boost your concentration
  • Promote weight loss and boost your mental energy
  • Help you absorb vitamin D (a vitamin that may help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, and heart attacks)
  • Reduce stress
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Improve your mood

Those are compelling reasons to open the door and step outside, so why not write yourself a prescription for spending more time outdoors?

For the entire month of August, challenge yourself to spend at least 30 minutes outside each and every day. If it’s safe to do so, invite a friend or family member to join you, and enjoy the added benefit of social connection.

See if you start noticing any trends, like an increase in energy, improved mood, better sleep, or decreased chronic pain.

You can do the same activity every day (a 30-minute walk for 31 days in a row is a wonderful idea!), but if you want some inspiration, here are 31 ways to enjoy spending time outside:

  1. Grab a lawn chair, a blanket, and a cup of something warm and look for shooting stars after dark
  2. Do yoga in the park
  3. Eat your lunch outside
  4. Plant a tree in memory of a loved one
  5. Mow the lawn, then mow a neighbor’s lawn
  6. Fly a kite
  7. Have a walking meeting, if you’re back to work
  8. Lay on the grass and see what shapes you see in the clouds. Bonus points if you take a sketch book along and draw what you see!
  9. If you don’t own one, borrow a friend’s dog and take it for a walk
  10. Research trails in your area and map out a nature walk using something like Map My Walk so you can track your distance
  11. Get up early and go somewhere where you can watch the sun rise.
  12. Stay up late and watch the sun set
  13. Sit on your front porch with a cold drink and greet everyone passing by
  14. Go for a walk in the rain
  15. Try birdwatching
  16. Research the history of your city, town, or neighborhood and take yourself on a historical walk
  17. If you like being spooked, research ghost stories related to your area and take yourself on a ghost walk
  18. Read a book in the shade
  19. Tackle the weeds in your garden and, with permission, tackle the weeds next door
  20. Take a nap under a shady tree
  21. Get some chalk and make some art on your sidewalk or driveway
  22. Knit or crochet in the park
  23. Grab your camera and take some photographs of the beautiful things in your neighborhood, then share them on social media to encourage others to get out and explore the world around them
  24. Camp out in your backyard
  25. Try to identify 10 different plants and 10 different trees during a walk
  26. Eat dinner under the stars in your backyard or on your balcony
  27. Jump rope
  28. Try Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese practice that has been called meditation in motion, on your front lawn
  29. Prep a vegetable bed for next spring so you’ll be able to enjoy homegrown produce next summer and fall
  30. Blow bubbles down the street for all to enjoy
  31. Turn your backyard into a mini golf course



417957D CAN/US 08/20

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