Remember when you were a kid and would go out to play with your friends for endless hours at a time? Time would fly, it would be sheer happiness without a worry in this world. And when you would get back home you would be so tired and pretty much be ready for a quick snack and go to sleep. And the next day, repeat! Well, why can’t we do that sometimes as an adult? What is stopping us? Some may say that life gets in the way, work, responsibilities, kids, etc. I say that’s all just excuses. Make some time to get outdoors and have some fun! With friends, or with your family, either way you will have a great time and it will serve as a cheap therapy session in case work has you stressed out.

When I was a kid I was blessed to live in an area where I could go play outside with my friends and not have to worry about any safety issues, cars, pollution, etc. It was a blast for many years!

Being in the forest, the desert, the mountains, the rivers, the ocean is more likely to invigorate your green passion and your innate sense of place than being stuck in the city. You might call them holidays, vacations, weekends, but in reality it is simply playtime. Just like when we were kids. The sheen on the water, the warmth of the rock, the smell of moss after rain, the taste of dirt. It connects us not only to our childhood, but also to our origins. And the longer we dwell there, the greater our sense of stewardship.

Make sure to bring people with you! You know you’re going to have a fantastic time under the open sky, so why not share it. Once in a while, soften the hardcore approach a little–take your friends, family, work colleagues, or fellow students out there with you. Watch them swat a few mosquitoes, shake the sand from their wetsuit, or get a sunburned nose, all the while knowing that you are introducing someone anew to the blue sky joys that give you so much pleasure. Chances are, someone did the same for you once.

Something we can also do is support organizations that support green spaces. There are many green charities out there that support wild places, parks, lakes, beaches, and biodiversity in general. If your budget permits, donate to a worthy charity once in a while, or volunteer with them. Charities will always have volunteer opportunities available to fit everyone’s interests!

Also remember, when you play outdoors, minimize your negative impact. There is a tendency when playing outside the boundaries imposed by concrete, glass, and societal norms to think that we can just go for it. And while that’s true when shooting through a pressure wave on a whitewater river or pushing yourself to the end of a 20-mile wilderness run, it doesn’t mean we can just drop our other responsibilities. Don’t leave any trash behind, pick it up and take it with you back home.

And pack lightly if you can, less is sometimes more. More gear will mean more weight, more worries. If you pack lightly, you will probably move faster and be less tired, as well as minimize your impact on nature.

So remember, make some time in your life to go outdoors and have fun. Bring the inner kid in you out again and if you can, just for a few hours at a time several times per month, have fun in contact with nature without a care in the world! Work to LIVE, don’t live to work!

(Excerpts from Warren McLaren’s article How to Go Green: Outdoor Sports)

Sports for Nature = Greening sports