6 Reasons You Don’t Go Outside—And How To Get Over Them
Does a small voice inside of you tell you that you shouldgo outside more? Maybe you’ve noticed that the kids are calmer and happier after a walk. Or you learned that lack of sunlight can lead to Vitamin D deficiency.
Or maybe you just know—on a gut level—that life’s burdens are easier to bear when you hear the birds sing, watch a sunset or feel the wind on your face.
But it is not always easy—everything from lack of time to overactive mosquitoes can keep people indoors.
We can help!
Here are 6 common obstacles to going outside, and some tips to overcome them:
1. I Don’t Have TIME!
We encourage people to get a “Green Hour,” but sometimes life only allows a Green 15. That’s okay!
- Small doses: Take a walk on your lunch break. Spend those last few minutes before bed in your backyard or on your patio, balcony or front stoop. Re-learn how to enjoysimple outdoor pleasures: Skip a stone, make a dandelion chain, or whistle through a blade of grass.
- Time-saver: Pack a small bag with outdoor essentials and keep it near the front door for easy access when you’re inspired to go outside. Include a picnic blanket, sunscreen, a Frisbee and a few water bottles.
- Three-in-one: Combine chores, exercise and outdoor time by walking while doing your errands.
2. I HATE Bugs!
Well, we LOVE bugs at the National Wildlife Federation.But we know mosquitoes and other pests can ruin a perfectly good Green Hour.
- Don’t make mosquitoes comfortable: Check outside your house for standing water, where mosquitoes like to lay eggs.
- Educate yourself: Get tips to avoid ticks, mosquitoes, and other outdoor dangers.
- Find the right bug spray: Read NWF’s suggestions forfinding healthy ways to keep the bugs away.
3. It’s too HOT!
It feels like summer is often spent running from car to air-conditioned store and back again—trying to minimize the amount of time outside! Here’s how to beat the heat:
- Time it right: Go outside in the mornings and evenings, before and after the sun has hit its peak.
- Water is your friend: Incorporate water into your plans—both for drinking and splashing in.
- Tree-time: “The temperature and shade underneath a tree can be 25 degrees cooler than a surrounding blacktop,” says NWF naturalist Dave Mizejewski. Find a few shady spots near your home to stake out on the really hot days or plant your own shade tree.
4. It’s too COLD!
Believe it or not, humans don’t need to hibernate in the winter.
- The layering effect: When outside, wear several layers of clothing. What keeps you warm is the heat you capture in between the layers!
- Winter watch: With the leaves off the trees, and most people indoors, spotting wildlife is actually an easier challenge in winter.
- Watch the neighbors: Fill your bird feeders at home and see what visitors come. Learn how to make a nesting box for your feathered friends.
5. There’s No NATURE Around Here!
Believe it or not, nature is never too far away.
- Nature in your neighborhood: This one’s easy: Plug your zip code into NatureFind and map out the “green spaces” nearby.
- Keep your eyes open: Even in parking lots and city streets, nature can be found. Check out Jane Kirkland’s book, Take A City Nature Walk.
- Bring nature to you: Make your garden, patio or balcony an oasis for wildlife.
6. My ALLERGIES are killing me!
Hay fever can force even the biggest outdoor enthusiasts inside. But there are ways to minimize the discomfort.
- Green thumb tips: If planned correctly, your garden can be kind to your allergies.
- Knowledge is power: Visit an allergist to determine the specific allergen, so you can avoid it.