Students should spend more time enjoying nature

Students are missing out on many health-boosting effects of the outdoors

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Jonathan Atchley, JagWire reporter/photographer

As our world becomes increasingly more dependent on technology, most people, especially teenagers, are spending less time in nature and outside in general. Netflix and Fortnite is more appealing to today’s youth than trees and fresh air. Students should find time to be outdoors as often as possible.

First things first, I would like to say that as a fellow member of Generation Z, I completely understand why us youth spend less time outside. We live in Kansas, mother nature’s petri dish of freak weather. It is not always easy, convenient or even safe to get outside everyday, but students should try. Even going for a walk around your neighborhood is better than sitting at home.

According to a study conducted by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “subjects sitting in natural surroundings showed decreases in the following physiological indices compared with the urban control group: 12.4% decrease in cortisol level, 7.0% decrease in sympathetic nervous activity.” This means that spending time outdoors makes you happier, less stressed and healthier.

Some of my best childhood memories are hiking and camping with my friends or fishing with my dad and grandpa. Backpacking in the Wind River Range is where I discovered my love for photography and videography. I love running outside everyday with the Cross Country or Track team. There are many ways to get outside without spending a dime or risking your life.

Students should find something that they enjoy and improves them as a person. Run on the treadmill everyday? Try going for a trail run at Shawnee Mission park. Do you like to spend your weekend scrolling through Instagram? Try going to a park and taking your own photos. Like to go shopping with your friends? Save some money by going for a bike ride or hike. Like to sit at home all day and play Fortnite? Reevaluate your life decisions. Been thinking about doing track or playing baseball? Try it, you might be surprised at how much fun you’ll have.

No matter who you are or what your interests are, you can find a way to spend more time outdoors. Being outside has made me feel healthier and happier. It’s helped me find hobbies that I love to this day and make memories I will cherish forever.

 

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