Benefits of Being Outdoors

This week the academy I’m apart of, Mulitmedia and Digital Art Acdemy (MAD), took a sophomore retreat up to the Montecito Sequoias. It was a great opportunity to get away from the business and stress of everyday life, while also being tech free. On Wednesday we arrived at 7:15 and began our six hour bus trip from Santa Barbara. We drove through the gorgeous California mountains but the real fun started when we got there.

Reina, Hayden, and Bella on the bus.

When we arrived the first thing we did was hike around the frozen lake. Many people brought tubes and sleds along to go down the snow covered hills and trails. Now days we spend most of our time indoors especially during the winter months, but getting outdoors can be both fun and healthy. Aside from just escaping the chaos of everyday life you get to breath better air, soak up vitamin D, and studies have shown getting outside reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Also when you are outside you are most likely being active which is always good for you.

The next day we began our biggest trek to the top of the mountain. After breakfast we all gathered outside and began our journey. It was an uphill hike in the powdery snow which was really difficult. My classmates and I bonded over the struggle and encouraged one another. Though it was tough I think it was worth it because at the top of the mountain there was and amazing view accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment! While on top of the mountain there were snowball fights and a lot of picture taking. Even though it was the most difficult part of the trip it is definitely one of the most memorable things and I felt accomplished afterwards which is always good!

Once we returned to the lodge we ate lunch and were then given free time. A few friends and I decided to go snowboard! I had never snowboarded in my life so it was pretty rough at first but eventually I got the hang of it. Another fun perk of the trip was that it was tech free. At first I wasn’t too excited about that but it actually enabled me to meet new people and be more present. Being tech free has its own benefits such as getting better sleep, being more active, strengthening real relationships, and just being all around present in the real world. On our last day we visited the Giant Sequoias and saw the tree with the largest diameter in the world. Seeing these giant trees really put into perspective the magnificence of Earth.

Overall we had an amazing time on our mountain getaway. We got a great taste of the natural world and took time to get away from our phones and strengthen our friendships within the class. I would really recommend taking time to be outdoors with friends whether it is a planned out getaway or a quick day trip, being outside away from normal chaos and stress is really fun, relaxing, and healthy for you both physically and mentally!

Exercise Can be Fun

The whole idea of exercising today consists of going on long runs, working out at the gym, and just overall seems extremely time consuming and difficult. This reputation that exercising has acquired has driven many people away as they feel they don’t have enough time or motivation to commit. This is slightly problematic since exercising is great for your overall health and is very beneficial now, and in the long run. I want to introduce a new idea about staying fit and healthy that can be incooperated into everyday life and can actually be considered fun.

Over President’s Day weekend I went up to Mammoth to go skiing with some friends. We skied for three days and we all had an amazing time. I then began to realize that I was actually exercising everyday during that break, but I was having a great time doing so. This led me to the idea that exercise can be fun and is even better with friends. Skiing isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of exercise but it is actually great physical activity.

Me and Madeline hitting the slopes

There are so many other ways to incorporate physical activities into everyday life even if they may not fall into the typical category of working out. Going on hikes, swimming, biking, doing yoga and even just choosing to walk instead of drive can actually make a big difference. These simple activities are quick and actually fun especially when you are with people you enjoy.

One of my favorite things to do regularly is hike. The San Ysidro trail, in Montecito, is walkable from my house which is really fun since I can walk up whenever I want. Aside from the physical activity hiking provides great views and is really fun to do with friends, so this week I had Madeline come over to hike with me.

A view from our hike

We had fun walking up the gorgeous trails, taking pictures, and of course laughing and talking. I really love the idea of getting outside and being active with others since it is much more enjoyable and you are both getting a workout. Overall I think being active with other is one of the best ways to improve health both physically and mentally!