Men’s Health and Wellness in The Great Outdoors

Do you ever feel like you spend too much time inside each day?

You’re not alone.

Each year, we humans spend more and more of our lives indoors. Whether we’re busy working, relaxing, or simply spending time around the house, finding time to get outside isn’t always easy.

While it can be nice to relax at home, doing so often means that we’re missing out on all the advantages of time spent in the great outdoors. In fact, getting outside on a regular basis to run, hike, paddle, or bask in the sunlight can provide you with a whole host of excellent physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits.

If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of being outside, then we’re here to help.

Up next, we’ll walk you through some of the key advantages to regular outdoor activity for men’s health. As a bonus, we’ll also offer up some top tips for making outdoor exercise and adventure a standard part of your daily routine.

Let’s get started.

The Benefits of Regular Outdoor Adventure

If you already spend a lot of time training and exercising in the gym, you might be wondering if outdoor activity is really all it’s hyped up to be.

The answer?

A regular outdoor activity offers an assortment of benefits for men that you simply can’t get from pumping iron in the gym. Here are some of the top advantages to staying active in the great outdoors that you ought to know:

Physical Well-Being

For many men, the outdoors is yet another great place to stay active and physically fit. Indeed, regardless of your preferred adventure style, research from the University of Exeter suggests that outdoor physical activity provides physical health benefits that you just can’t get while exercising indoors.

In particular, the researchers found that, when compared to individuals that exercise mostly indoors, those who exercised in outdoor environments were more likely to enjoy their physical activities. As a result…

people who exercise outdoors were more likely to exercise on a routine basis, helping them stick to a regular fitness schedule.

What’s more, a US-based research team also found direct links between regular hiking and other similar outdoor activities and physical health benefits. Although everyone is different, some of the many benefits that people who exercise outdoors can achieve include lower blood pressure improved immune functioning and healthy weight loss.

Mental Health Benefits

In addition to the many physical health advantages that we’ve already discussed, regular outdoor recreation can also provide men with ample mental health benefits.

Indeed, a study from the University of Maryland recently found that outdoor exercise is linked to improved outcomes for people with mental health issues. The researchers from that study even went so far as to suggest that medical providers could prescribe outdoor exercise to help people recover from and manage their mental health challenges.

Plus, German researchers also found that people who spent more time in the great outdoors were more likely to report feelings of increased mindfulness and self-efficacy. These same individuals also reported their own feelings of improved life satisfaction and subjective well-being, indicating that spending time outside has benefits that range far beyond our physical health.

Emotional & Social Connections

Although the idea that venturing into the wilderness can help you connect with others might seem a bit counterintuitive, research shows that we have a lot to gain from outdoor activity in terms of our emotional and social well-being.

A study from Norway, where the idea of friluftsliv, or ‘free air living,’ is commonplace, found that families that go on frequent hikes and other adventures are more likely to develop close social bonds.

Another international study from researchers in the US and Spain also found similar results. In fact, these researchers found that group activities in nature-based settings, such as walking with friends in a local park, helped people overcome feelings of loneliness.

So, getting outside with your friends for a hike, bike, run, or paddle can do wonders for your physical, mental, and social well-being.

Spiritual Grounding

Finally, the outdoors has long been a source of inspiration and guidance for people around the world. So, it should come as no surprise that there are spiritual benefits to outdoor recreation. Regular outdoor activity can help increase feelings of connectedness with nature.

However, we should note that some studies have found that young men often express reduced feelings of nature connectedness than their peers of other genders.

Therefore, getting outside on a more regular basis can help men push back against these gender discrepancies so that they can feel more spiritually grounded in their day-to-day lives.

Top Tips for Making Outdoor Activity Part of Your Daily Routine

At this point, you have a solid understanding of the benefits of outdoor activity. But you might be asking yourself how you can make outdoor activity a part of your daily routine. Up next, we’ll offer 3 quick and easy ways to incorporate a bit of wilderness adventure into your life so you can get all the benefits of the great outdoors.

Make Your Meetings Walking Meetings

If you’re a busy professional, adding yet another activity to your schedule might seem impossible. So, to help you stay active and to help you get outside, consider turning some of your work meetings into walking meetings.

Join me for a hike?

For example, if you have a phone-based work meeting, consider taking your meeting to a local park. Or, if the situation allows for it, you could take your coworkers out on a walk around your local park instead of sitting in a conference room during your meeting.

Unless there’s a major reason why you need to be sitting at a computer during your meeting, turning your rendezvous into a nature walk can offer a whole host of physical health and work-based benefits.

In fact, in addition to the extra physical activity that a walk provides, the walking itself can provide a bit of inspiration for you during your meeting, helping you to think outside the box and solve challenges in the process.

Plan 24 Hour Adventures

While we often think of an outdoor activity as something that happens on major expeditions in far-flung places, the reality is that you can enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors without having to completely up-end your schedule.

Indeed, one of the best ways to get outside on a regular basis is to plan a 24-hour outdoor adventure each week. To do so, you simply need to find a nearby destination, an activity, and a place to stay.

One option would be to plan a backpacking trip at a local state park. Then, when it’s time for your adventure, you can hit the road soon after work on Friday, spend the night in the night in a backcountry campsite, get up and hike during the day, and then drive back to your home before dinner time on Saturday.

They might not seem like much, but these short little adventures give you a chance to get out and explore the great outdoors. Plus, these 24-hour vacations provide a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life so you can rest and recharge before the week ahead.

Seek Out Outdoor Activity in Group Settings

Although getting outside and adventuring in nature is often thought of as a solitary activity, there’s no reason why you can’t experience the wonders of the wilderness with your friends in tow.

In fact, seeking out outdoor activity in group settings, such as by joining a local hiking club or by organizing camping trips with your friends, can make a big difference to your physical, mental, and social well-being.

Since men are often pressured by Western society to act in a way that ignores their emotional well-being, being in these group settings while outside with other men can help create a safe space where you can express yourself and stay active without the constraints of traditional societal norms. What could be better?

The Mountains Are Calling

The research is clear: Getting outside on a regular basis can offer fantastic benefits for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Whether you’re looking to get outside for the first time or whether you’re looking to diversify your outdoor adventures, we hope that this article helped inspire you to make spending time in nature a part of your routine.

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