You may think that being outdoorsy requires a lot of time and money, a certain body type, and even flashy gear. But, as the meaning of an outdoorsy lifestyle is being reclaimed and re-defined, it’s becoming more affordable and inclusive. And with both scientists and medical professionals agreeing on the numerous health benefits of recreating in nature, even sworn urbanites should give it a go.
The meaning of being outdoorsy can be scaled to anyone’s needs, budget, and fitness level, but the rewards remain the same.
The Unlikely Hikers and the Homebody Outdoorist
Unlikely Hikers is a grassroots organization working to increase diversity on public lands and inviting everybody into the outdoors. Catering for those whose size, gender, race, religion, or disability might make them feel ill at ease on the trails, Unlikely Hikers unites “misfit nature lovers.” The group is hugely popular on social media, already making waves in the industry as big brands are becoming aware of the need to support diverse adventurers.
While some take their first steps on the trails, others learn to find their nature fix much closer to home. Katie Boue is a climber-turned-homesteader, an advocate for public lands, and a self-proclaimed “homebody outdoorist.” Spending all of her free time in her urban garden, Boue is on a mission to inspire others to live closer to nature, and it can be as simple as transforming your manicured front lawn for a bee-friendly wild meadow, or cultivating herbs on the windowsill.
Finding Outdoors Anywhere
While more than half of American households have a garden, an average adult spends ninety percent of their time surrounded by four walls, and out of the remaining 10 percent, a large portion is spent in an enclosed vehicle. With 80 percent of the population living in highly populated, dense urban areas, these numbers are alarming proof of a lifestyle issue that is already taking its toll on our health.
While not everybody can – or wants to – leave everything behind and head into the wilderness with a backpack, finding little pockets of nature is possible even in the city. Introducing small lifestyle changes that bring more greenery and fresh air into everyday life can have profound benefits on both mental and physical health.
Taking up cycling, growing bee-friendly plants on a shared allotment (or even a balcony), or simply taking a weekly walk in the local park are small and easy steps for transforming an indoor lifestyle into a more outdoorsy one. Microadventures are a more daring option while dispersed camping on national lands is budget-friendly. And for those with disposable funds but without a taste for getting a little dirty, glamping lets you get close to nature without forgoing modern conveniences.
Most importantly, there is no right or wrong when it comes to being outdoorsy – as long as you breathe fresh air, you’re doing great!