Spending time in the great outdoors can be a wonderful way to reconnect with Mother Nature and it’s definitely something we should do more often. That being said, it’s also important to make our outdoor recreation as eco-friendly and green as possible to help preserve our environment while also reaping numerous health benefits along the way.
How the outdoors benefits our mental health
Most of us don’t really notice it anymore, but we’re spending vast amounts of our time indoors – a whopping 90% according to studies. We’re so used to using technology both at home and at work or school that we don’t really engage in any outdoor adventures. This is a real shame considering the numerous ways outdoor recreation can benefit our mental health.
For starters, engaging in outdoor activities can help us cope more easily with stress, anxiety, and depression by having a calming effect on our brain and fight these negative states of mind more effectively. Even if it’s something as simple as taking a walk or cycling through nature. Studies have also found that spending time in nature can improve our short-term memory, enhance our ability to focus, and boost our creativity, while also resulting in a number of overall health benefits including lowered blood pressure, improved immune system, and decrease our risk of developing cancer.
The golden rule: Leave no trace
When embarking on an outdoor adventure, you want to keep in mind this one golden rule:
Leave everything exactly as you found it.
For starters, you want to stick with the path and only use marked hiking trails. You should also restrain yourself from taking anything with you but rather leaving it for others to enjoy. Remember not to feed any animals you encounter, and make sure to light fires responsibly. To ensure you leave no trace, bring a trash bag and resist the urge to bring toilet paper.
Choose biodegradable and avoid plastic
When you bring biodegradable items and hygiene products, you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment. If your bathroom essentials such as a soap or toothpaste do, however, contain slow-degrading chemicals, it’s best to stay away from any rivers, streams, and lakes to avoid pollution. Stay at least 200 feet away from natural sources of water. When it comes to food storage, avoid using any throw-away storage containers. Instead, use biodegradable, compostable wax wraps to protect your food and prevent plastic pollution.
Repurpose items whenever you can
Upgrading your gear is essential for ensuring safety and efficiency of your outdoor gear. But even though some items can’t be used forever, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be repurposed instead of being sent to the landfill. Not only is repurposing old and worn out equipment a great way to avoid throw away culture, but it can also help you make some money along the way. It’s all about being creative and reusing the items in the best way possible.
Invest in items and gear that were made to last
There will be times when you’ll need to replace your old gear and make a couple of updates. When that moment comes, you want to invest in high quality items and gear that were made to last.
Finding outdoor essentials at great prices is made easier thanks to quality brands like Tekto Gear, whether we’re talking about automatic, fixed, or folding knives or outdoor accessories. All gear isn’t created equal, and by opting for quality over quantity, you’ll be doing Mother Nature a big favor.
Separate your trash
We already mentioned the importance of leaving no trace when spending time in the wilderness, but what you do with the items you throw away also matters. You want to keep your trash separated into three categories – garbage, recycle, compost, and bring everything with you when the time comes to leave. While some fruit peels biodegrade quickly and are pretty harmless, others such as banana peel take up to six months, so your safest bet would be to bring everything with you when you go.
Buy second-hand whenever possible
It might be tempting to go and get new outdoor gear and apparel, but buying second-hand from various Internet sources is a much better alternative – both for your wallet and Mother Nature. That being said, some items will need to be bought new, including a travel bottle and a high-quality backpack. Not only do these make for great gift ideas for hikers backpackers in your life but they’re also useful for any type of outdoor adventure, whether we’re talking about hiking, camping, or fishing in the wild.
Team up and carpool
As an outdoor enthusiast, you might be spending a lot of time in nature and you probably enjoy heading to your favorite trails alone.
However, a more eco-friendlier approach would be to team up with some friends who are just as passionate about outdoors and simply carpool. This may not always be possible, but when you do manage to do it, it reduces the amount of vehicle emissions and carbon pollution. Besides, you know what they say – the more, the merrier!
It’s in our nature to crave connection with the world around us. Keep these tips in mind when embarking on your next outdoor adventure so you can reap all the benefits of interacting with the natural world while also being environmentally conscious.