Although it caused immense suffering, the COVID-19 pandemic offered a few silver linings.
One positive outcome was that people all over the world gained motivation to explore the outdoors and get active.
With such indoor pursuits as movie-going and restaurant dining off the table, more people chose to recreate outside. The result was improved physical and mental well-being.
As vaccines roll out, businesses reopen, and life returns to normal, the healthy habits developed during COVID run the risk of being lost once again. Here are some ways to keep the outdoors part of your life long after the virus ceases to be a serious threat.
1. Pursue Hobbies Old and New:
Did you pick up an outdoor hobby while you were sheltered in place? Don’t let that flame die out. Making time for the hobbies that got you through COVID is one way to ensure you continue to spend time outdoors.
Let’s say you decided to take up skateboarding as a new interest while restaurants and attractions in your area were closed. Set some time aside to continue practicing your tricks. Plans and goals will help make sure your newfound hobby doesn’t turn into a forgotten fad. If you don't have a skateboard yet, Skates.co.uk is a good place to buy one online. Set some time aside to continue practicing your tricks. Plans and goals will help make sure your newfound hobby doesn’t turn into a forgotten fad. If you don't have a skateboard yet, Skates.co.uk is a good place to buy one online. Set some time aside to continue practicing your tricks. Plans and goals will help make sure your newfound hobby doesn’t turn into a forgotten fad.
If you’re still looking for something to pull you out into the great outdoors, experiment with a new hobby. You might wonder how you did without an inflatable stand-up paddleboard or backyard archery range once you’ve given them a shot.
2. Mix Up Your Commute:
One big reason outdoor activity and exercise saw such a big increase during COVID was due to the rise of remote work.
Having more flexibility in our schedules and working from home presented more opportunities to stay active. Commuting to work and spending all day at the office is more time-consuming, pushing more of our available outdoor time to the weekend.
If you’re returning to an office setting, you’re probably readjusting to a more demanding schedule once again. If you’re struggling to keep up your outdoor habit, look for ways to mix up your commute. If you live close enough, make the effort to bike or even walk to the office.
Either provide an excellent opportunity to fit daily exercise into your routine.
3. Repurpose Your Breaks:
Another chance to foster your outdoor habits at work is during your scheduled break times. While it’s certainly easy to get lost in social media for a few minutes, you’ll get more enduring satisfaction from spending that time outside.
A 15-minute break makes for a nice walk. Look for walking trails or even bike paths situated around your office for short outdoor excursions. You’ll feel more energized after an outdoor break than you would watching a random YouTube video at your desk.
For even more outdoor fun, get your whole team involved. Group walks and bike rides will become valuable traditions that promote team bonding. Group walks are also a great way to stay accountable for your physical fitness goals.
4. Involve the Family:
Few things in life are as central to maintaining our health as our family. Whether you want to give them treasured experiences or improve your health, the family can be a great motivator to make your outdoor goals happen.
When you get family members involved, your outdoor habits become less about exercise and more about family fun.
Some of your fondest childhood memories likely occurred outside. Camping trips, backyard baseball games, and Easter egg hunts are all outdoor activities that bring families closer together.
Look for ways to get your family outside more, and soon you’ll have trouble keeping everyone inside.
5. Join a Group:
What happens if your family isn’t keen on outdoor activity, or no one you know shares an interest in your new outdoorsy hobby? Turn to social media. There are countless groups of people around the world — and even in your community — who will support you in your outdoor habits.
Start by looking for local groups you can join. For example, a community tennis club will provide the partners you need to hit the court every week. You’ll be able to use the sport to stay active and make some new friends along the way.
Other groups are still primarily (or entirely) virtual. Nevertheless, you can use them to ask questions and share personal progress, which can be just as motivating.
For example, a virtual golf group won’t get together to play but can still offer tips that will help you improve your game. You might share video clips to get advice on your swing or brag about your new low score at the local course.
6. Continue to Set Goals:
Written goals are one of the most powerful tools you can use to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Sticking to goals will help get you out the door even on the most difficult of days. They add structure to your life, enabling positive habits to grow and thrive.
One of your goals might be to get 30 minutes of exercise in a day. How did you achieve this during COVID? What can you do to continue achieving this goal today? Each goal will require a plan to set everything in motion.
Perhaps during COVID, you’d run at lunchtime to get your 30 minutes of exercise in each day. To continue this habit today, your runs can be scheduled before or after work. This allows you to keep the habit going and get into a new routine that works with your changing schedule.
7. Monitor Expectations:
Let’s be real for a moment. It’s probably going to be a lot harder to keep up with outdoor habits now that you have more indoor leisure choices. Don’t let that discourage you! Monitor your expectations and count the small victories as you seek to make lifestyle adjustments.
Don’t have the time anymore to go on a five-mile hike? Then don’t hold yourself to that standard anymore. Two miles, if you can do that, still represents a great effort. What matters more than the mileage or the time spent is the consistency of getting outside every single day.
Keep up your outdoor habits to have a longer, happier life. Pandemic or not, you’ll look back and be grateful for all those days you spent enjoying the outdoors and improving yourself.