Many people looking to improve their fitness or well-being turn to a variety of modern solutions; gyms, parks, and other urban recreational facilities offer the appeal of proximity and convenience. Still, going out for the occasional outdoor adventure can offer the same benefits in addition to the following lessons which may prove essential for the rest of your life.
An appreciation of basic necessities
When you spend time immersed in the outdoors, you’ll quickly have an increased appreciation of the value of basic necessities – food, water, and shelter. Anyone caught in a sudden downpour, or running low on bottled water on a hot afternoon hike, will be reminded of the conveniences of modern living. Go to the local hunting stores in Michigan and grab all the necessary equipment, and you can still spend hours trying to bring down game – it really brings home a greater understanding of food and the many ways in which we source what we eat every day.
Spending time in the wild isn’t about learning how to build a fire, find fresh water, put food on your plate, or erect a shelter. Although those are all useful skills to master, when you get back home the biggest takeaway will be respect for nature and sustainability – not taking more than what you need, and never letting things go to waste.
Enhanced leadership and communication
One of the fascinating things about the long-running reality TV series Survivor is the way audiences tend to love relatable, ethical players who work hard for the good of the tribe, before usually being cast out by cold, calculating political players. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that in the typical office setting, the hard-working team player is perceived to earn little reward compared to the manipulative, man-managing supervisor.
Of course, reality is a lot more nuanced; managers take on a lot of stressful, high-level tasks which bring strategic success to a business. But without good communication and a strong bond of teamwork, there can be a sense of distrust or alienation between different levels of hierarchy in an organization. This is where outdoor experiences can develop effective leadership. By working together in the natural environment, people learn to draw on their different strengths to accomplish tasks, giving and receiving feedback knowing that it’s vital to finding solutions for the good of the group. Taking this lesson, leaders at work will understand the value of good communications and bonding with their employees, who in turn can better appreciate the efforts and intentions of higher management.
Greater sense of resilience and independence
Modern technology has made it safer than ever to venture out into the wilderness, and that’s a good thing. Yet even with GPS on our mobile devices letting you know the directions back to your parked car or the nearest public transportation, the way back can still be a long hike away. In a situation where problems can’t be solved by asking friends or neighbors for help and needs can’t be addressed with a five-minute dash to the convenience store, you can’t help but develop a greater sense of self-reliance. Being in the wild teaches people to be more observant, responsive, and capable of taking autonomous action; these are qualities to be desired in any endeavor.
Indoor exercise facilities can offer sophisticate workouts, while you can easily enjoy the beauty of nature in parks and gardens or even on social media feeds. But spending time outdoors confers these lessons which can’t be so easily replicated or replaced.