By: Jacob Tumminello

For many of us, the most time we spend outdoors comes from transitioning between cars and buildings, if that even counts.  As we continue to develop new technological advancements to make our lives easier, we have slowly begun to remove ourselves from the outdoor environment to shift towards safer and less demanding settings. 

We as a species are less challenged to obtain food which is now carried by large machines to our destinations, and we spend most of our time sitting or sedentary.  Millions of people are damaging their eyes and backs sitting in front of computer screens for hours each day, and some individuals spend little to no time outdoors.  
 Although the removal from our once hostile environments has many advantages, it has also created problems for individuals who struggle to maintain a proper balance of outdoor exposure and indoor refuge.  Many health and social science specialists have taken a closer look at the disconnect between modern societies and the outdoors.   
From cultivating creative inspiration to increasing your physical health, here are five reasons to Venture Outdoors.   
Physical Health 

There are many ways simple exposure to the outdoors can benefit your physical health.  Warm rays of sun provide your body with Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for stabilizing mood.  The oxygen outdoors can be much purer than the air inside your home which, despite your best efforts, can still be filled with dust and dirt particles.  In combination with the sun and clean air, walking the streets or hiking trails is a very moderate form of exercise which provides cardiovascular support as well improving leg muscles.  
 
Mental Health 

Everyone has a method for clearing their heads on a stressful day, but one method proven to work universally is outdoor exposure.  Along with your physical health, your mental health can also be directly affected by the elements.  A break from the monotony of the indoors reminds us of our childhoods relieving stress and boosting our mood.  Many people make use of the natural environment’s ability to soothe the senses.  The sound of water falling creates a blissful ambiance.  The scent of warm, damp earth reminds us the exciting summer months approach, and few people can witness a shooting star without marveling at the mysterious wonder. 
 
Social Exposure 

With people spending more and more time online, it can be easy – especially for younger generations – to develop poor communication habits from lack of face-to-face interactions.  For children, much of this development takes place outdoors.  Becoming familiar with community builds a sense of trust with others and leads to strong relationships.  Though the internet provides an adequate social forum, face-to-face interaction is a completely different form of communication.   
 
Return to Center 

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there is much evidence to suggest that human beings once rose from the very waters we now pollute.  Since this is evident in the positive interaction between body and earth, we can begin to understand how essential outdoor exposure truly relates to humanity. 
The molecules that make up our bodies are the same that make up our environment.  The water in our bodies is the same as the streams, the iron in our blood the same as the stone, and oxygen in our lungs the same as in the sky.  While our efforts as a society take us farther from the outdoors, finding balance reminds us of our “roots”. 
 
A Creative Advantage 

Sometimes the greatest cure for writer’s block is a break from the monotony which – in this case -happens to be staying indoors for too long.  Sprawling landscapes, endless horizons, and the mysterious sounds of wildlife can often stimulate creative inspiration which cannot be found within the confines of rooms and buildings.  A simple nature walk can create feelings of nostalgia from childhood and a morning stroll can change a stressful commute to a sightseeing adventure.  Familiar surroundings can take on completely new appearances providing inspiration from once overlooked places. 
 
Venture Outdoors offers a variety of activities year-round activities from snowshoeing to kayaking on Pittsburgh’s rivers.  Whether venturing alone or with Venture Outdoors, the organization has something for everyone.  The Venture Outdoors team is eager to share outdoor experience, so if you find yourself seeking new and exciting ways to spend time outdoors then call or visit us at ventureoutdoors.org to start your next adventure.