By Jenna Anderson

Nature is a beautiful thing to be immersed in.

The feeling of grass between your toes, sand squishing beneath your feet and water lapping against your skin. The sights—oh, the sights!—of incredible sunsets and sunrises, a thousand million shapes in the clouds and a tiny colony of ants diligently working for the good of many. The sounds of a brook making its twisty way through the woods, a chorus of birds shouting their joy and a tree’s leaves and branches blowing in the wind.

The woods at twilight are magical and at dawn are full of promise. Hiking trails present us with an invitation and a challenge. Fields full of flowers take our breath away and thunderstorms awe us with the vastness and the power in the sky. How is it that nature speaks to us this way?

One of the things I have a hard time with in Winnipeg is that there are no hiking trails close by. I grew up hiking on a regular basis with my family and didn’t realize until recently how much I miss it.

However, this isn’t an excuse not to get out in the sun. We have dozens of parks, green spaces, bike paths and playgrounds to enjoy, as most cities do. Go for a walk if you aren’t close to anything else; the sky and the air are better than nothing.

I’ve even spread out a blanket on the grass in between my apartment building and the next one to read a book. Make it happen.

Experiencing nature isn’t just to please your senses. There have been many studies done that show the results of being in nature. Benefits include strengthened immunity and mental health, improved alertness, decreased anxiety and depression, increased muscle strength and, of course, more vitamin D. That alone will bring you several health benefits.

As summer is in full swing, go enjoy it! Pick up a new sport, eat your lunch outside, take your family to the playground, set walking dates with a friend. Find somewhere to hike. Dust off your bicycle. Learn how to rollerblade.

Despite being someone who avoids walking, I’ve started taking 30 to 50 minute strolls along the river or even through the streets near my work. I’ll listen to a podcast or music, and just enjoy the sun and the breeze. As someone who’s never enjoyed walking, I have to say, it’s not bad.

 


Article by Jenna Anderson, a Winnipeg writer and videographer. You can find her on Twitter @reallyjenna.

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