As Covid-19 is turning our lives upside down and changing up our daily lives, there is more time than ever to get outside. Even if bigger out-of-state trips are not recommended, we don’t have to hang up our hiking boots. We don’t have to say farewell to adventure. There is plenty of nature-time to be had locally! From quiet reflective activities to adrenaline-rush, fast-paced activities, being outdoors boosts mental and physical health, which is more important during this stressful and uncertain time than ever. In this post, I’m going to share five outdoor activities I’ve been enjoying to hopefully inspire you to get out in nature or try something new 🙂 I’ll also be including my favorite local outdoor locations for anyone who lives in the TriTown area.
- Dog Walking / Running
If you have a dog, that’s a perfect excuse to get out into nature! Zealand accompanies me on pretty much any outdoor activity I do, from the muddy rainy-day walk in the picture to my sunny-day trail runs. It’s nice to have a companion on adventures, and it’s quite relaxing and almost therapeutic to talk about your day aloud to your doggie. On runs, Zealand is the perfect buddy – but, she makes me feel like I’m very slow if I compare myself to her and her limitless energy.
Even if you don’t have a dog, trail runs and walks are still great activities to do with a family member or solo (especially if you are like me and need some time to yourself every so often). I find that just walking or jogging by myself provides some much-needed reflective time. Everything slows down, and I don’t think about anything except the trail ahead.
Favorite Local Spots: Lockwood Forest, Chaplin Nike Site (pictured above)
2. Mountain Biking
Biking is a great way to get out! It is one of the more exhilarating and fast-paced activities for my fellow adrenaline junkies who are missing the rush of skiing after the resorts closed. I am still green at this sport, but I love it! It’s quite a workout going uphill (my hamstrings are still screaming!) but coming downhill is a blast, especially on uneven and bumpy terrain.
Biking on flat terrain and smooth trails in the woods is also a great way to exercise outdoors. You can take it slow and enjoy your surroundings.
Favorite Local Spots: Under the power lines on the Middleton Reservoir trail: Take a right after crossing over the water and ascending the hill to get to the power lines (pictured above)
For flat smooth terrain, try the Peabody Essex Trail
3. Nature Photography
I’ve been trying out my hand at nature photography. It might not be the most physically demanding or exhilarating activity, but sometimes it’s good to slow down and quietly observe nature. I’ll stop on my walks or bikes to pull out my iPhone camera if something catches my eye. I’m not really a photographer, but I have had fun playing around with this form of art. Maybe I’ll start taking more pictures on hikes. I challenge all nature walkers to try out some photography on their next walk! I’ve also been having a bit of fun making films in nature with my DJI Mavic Mini drone and GoPro Hero 7. All of my outdoor adventure films are posted on my GoPro Instagram account, @katiebernard.edits – Go check it out!
Studies show that spending time in nature increases creativity by 50%! It must be all that fresh air! So, while you’re out, channel your inner artist, whether it be photography, music, drawing, writing, videography… you name it!
Favorite Local Spots: Really, anywhere in the woods! There is some pretty water at Boxford State Forest and at the Middleton Reservoir, though.
I’ve been kayaking in both my local pond and river on sunny days. My kayak may just be inflatable, but she’s sturdy! It is super fun to get out on the water but I would caution to tackle only easy sections of river during the Covid crisis – we don’t need to put rescue teams in danger if kayakers get caught in strainers or other obstacles.
Watch my recent kayak trip video linked at the bottom of this post!
Favorite Local Spots: Hood Pond (pictured above), various sections of the Ipswich River such as Thunder Bridge to Salem Street Landing
5. Cleaning litter!
I love being outside, but more times than I’d like to, I see trash on the ground and it makes me so sad. Plastic trash can take up to 1000 years to break down and so many people toss it out their car windows or drop it on a walk. So, it feels good to just grab a trash bag and do my part to clean up the outdoors that I love so much. It is almost addictive – the more you look, the more trash you see. I highly recommend this activity because it feels good to do and can make a difference.
Favorite Local Spots: Anywhere and everywhere! Along sides of roads, at river landings (pictured above)
I have found that getting outside just once a day really lifts mood and helps me sleep better! Please comment below: I’d love to know, In what ways are you getting outside during the pandemic?