By: Yashvi Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader
Below I talk about a few of many outdoor activities you can do this summer!
Hiking: It is a great form of exercise that confers many physical, mental, and social benefits. It strengthens bones and muscles, while also enhancing cardiovascular health, increasing strength and flexibility, and aiding in weight loss. Additionally, it has been demonstrated to have advantageous benefits on mental health. Spending time in nature can bring us back into the present moment and evoke a sense of calm and peace in our hectic lives. It offers social benefits as well. It can be an opportunity to connect with others or be an activity done in solitude. For me, I am always in my head and overthinking everything. Being in a serene, quiet environment and being able to focus on my surroundings helps quiet my mind and reduce my stress levels. My personal favorite is Mount Monadnock, a 3,165-foot mountain located in New Hampshire, having the highest peak in Southern New Hampshire. There are multiple trails that reach the breathtaking summit, but the White Dot Trail is the shortest with a 3.8 miles round trip and should take approximately 3-4 hours to complete. This is also recommended for beginners, being the easiest to climb and the least steep/rocky. I remember going on this trail with my entire family including my grandparents, and it wasn’t too strenuous for them.
Kayaking/Canoeing: You can kayak nearby lakes and rivers. I like kayaking because I’m able to get exercise in, while also enjoying the scenery. Kayaking, like hiking, is good for your physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, it is a low impact activity, easy on the joints and bones, making it ideal sports for seniors or individuals with limited flexibility, individuals with arthritis or soft-tissue injuries, or those avoiding chances of mechanical injury. It can be done at varying levels of intensity, making it accessible to people of all ages and fitness abilities. My favorite canoe and kayak location is the Charles River in Boston. It is a nine-mile stretch of a river with no current, ideal for beginner kayakers. Downstream you will encounter colleges like Harvard, MIT, and BU, the Esplanade, and Boston skyline. The views are breathtaking!
Picnicking: Picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family friends. My friends and I recently went to Castle Island and marked our spot on a hill overlooking the river. We decorated cupcakes, played uno, had a photoshoot with flowers, took some aesthetic polaroid pictures, had chips and drinks, and blasted some music. We went the weekend after school ended, so it was a great way to relax and unwind from the craziness of finals week. It is a relatively low-cost activity that requires minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere and at any time. You can have a picnic in a park, at the beach, or even in your own backyard. You can play games, read a book, or just enjoy the scenery.
Beach Yoga Beach yoga is a fun and adventurous experience. I found that it helps you connect with nature and find a sense of peace and calm. It is a sensory stimulating activity, being able to hear the waves, feel the sand, and smell the fresh ocean air. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can improve flexibility, strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. Yoga on the beach adds an extra layer of difficulty, as the sand bears an unstable surface, so you end up engaging more muscles, which helps improve balance. When I was studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain, we had a yoga instructor offer a beach yoga class in the early morning. In that moment, I felt like nothing before- as if I were one with the world. The vibes were just surreal. I would recommend booking a beach yoga class or just doing whatever bit of yoga you know by the beach- the experience is priceless and totally worth it.