Why spending time outside makes us happy

July 12, 2021
Aspire Blog - best hiking trails for seniors in Monterey County - older adults walking outside

So much of our time is spent looking at a screen each day. In fact, a recent article from the American Psychological Association says we spend too much time – 10 hours daily – looking at a screen! Over the last year due to sheltering in place, we spent more time on our phones and computers and watching television to get news, stay entertained and keep in touch with our family and friends via tools like Zoom. Now, it’s time to get outside and move!

Research shows that people who spend more time outside report higher levels of health and happiness. The Washington Post cited a study from Nature Scientific Reports that found “those who got in two to three hours in nature [weekly] were about 20 percent more likely to report high overall satisfaction with their lives than those who spent no time outdoors at all.” TIME cited another study from the International Journal of Environmental Health Research that found “spending just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve well-being, according to the research.”

Here in Monterey County, we’re fortunate to live in such a scenic place! Take a stroll by the ocean or other local trails. For reference, Monterey County also has a list of county parks. Or, you can take a walk around your neighborhood. The Blue Zones Project® suggests a Walking Moai – when groups of 5 to 8 people walk together at least once a week for 10 weeks to points of interest throughout the community. It’s a great way to meet new friends, stay socially connected, exercise and stay healthy.

Going on a hike is a great way to enjoy warm weather, and we know that it can improve bone density, boost cardiovascular health and reduce arthritis, among other physical health benefits. Just make sure to check with your doctor to make sure you are okay for any exercise outside of your normal routine. Also, remember to stay within your comfort level. If you’re looking for the best hiking trails for seniors in Monterey County, we’ve put together a list of day hikes around the area, compiled from Robert Stone’s books. He is a writer, photographer, and publisher of Day Hike Books and guides in Arizona, California, Montana, Wyoming and National Parks.

We will continue to share activities and content showing how happiness can lead to better overall health. Follow along on our blog and social media pages (FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn) and share your journey with us using the hashtag #AspireChooseHappy.


Related Posts: