By Rich Niccum, Education Services Manager With winter comes the New Year, new resolutions and a “fresh start” for many of us. The top ten resolutions seem to always include losing weight, getting fit, spending more time with family and friends, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, getting out of debt, enjoying life more, learning something new, helping others and getting organized. And I bet many of you have some of those at the top of your list, but do you notice what didn’t make the top ten?
Unfortunately, getting outdoors and enjoying our natural world didn’t make the cut, partly because we lead such busy lives. I always make getting outdoors one of my top commitments each year. Granted, it’s a little easier for me because I have a career that focuses on the outdoors and our natural world and am typically out most days enjoying nature in some capacity.
There are many benefits to getting outside in the winter. One is just making sure you are continuing to get the exercise you need. In the winter with its cold, snow and rain, we tend to become more sedentary and eat the same amount of food, or even more, for comfort. Getting out and walking your neighborhood or the trails in a local park, even a few times a week, can help you get the exercise you need during the winter months. You could go to the gym and hop a treadmill to get similar physical benefits, but you won’t necessarily get the same mental health benefits. Being outdoors in “green areas” helps people have a more positive perception of their general health and makes them feel happier. It also helps jump start our brains, boosting creativity and our ability to focus.
So, I challenge you to make a commitment for 2019 to get outside more, enjoy nature and encourage family and friends to join you. Preservation Parks makes it easy to kick off your new year right with our annual New Year’s Day Hike on Jan. 1. This year it will be held at Deer Haven Park at 10 a.m. Dress for the weather and enjoy a refreshing hike through he woods and fields of the park. Afterward warm up with refreshments around the fireplace in the visitor center. Happy New Year!