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Why It’s Important To Connect With Nature

Blue whale surfaces in front of whale watchers near Dana Point, CA

On our planet today, we are blessed to be surrounded by an incredible ambiance of beauty.  From oceans, hillsides, rivers, streams, mountain tops, and vibrant green vistas, we share space with some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that one could imagine. Although many of these remarkable views are right outside our front door, an alarming amount of individuals spend nearly 80-99% of their time indoors. This time is spent doing anything from work, Netflix, Instagramming, T.V. dinnertime, sleeping and a slew of other indoor interests, but with so many activities vying for our attention under a cozy roof, it doesn’t leave much time to enjoy the great outdoors.

Some ask, “Why is it important to connect with nature?”

Research has shown that nature not only has healthy psychological benefits but also extends to physiological and spiritual benefits. With the positive impact it has on our beings as a whole, it has become a vital element in many people’s lives in order to detach and de-stress from the demands of each day. From benefits such as increased longevity, greater happiness, weight management, sharper focus, mental clarity, and immune system health, it’s no wonder why the need to connect with nature is becoming a worldwide phenomenon.

The best part? This natural dose of happiness and well-being is often right in our backyard, and there’s a long list of ways that you and your loved ones can spend time reconnecting with nature. Here at Captain Dave’s, we’ve compiled a list of several simple and easy ways that you can take part in this all-natural bit of goodness. As a special bonus, we’ve included many water-friendly options that may be closer to home for many, or a great option for you during your next sunny-day getaway.

Walks on the Beach

Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, stated: “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.” With so many amazing benefits to being near water, a soothing stroll in the sand can do wonders for the soul. This charming activity has one of the best dress codes with no shoes required and is completely free. Enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes from this wonderful way of connecting with nature.

Surf’s Up

For those whose sand-covered toes are itching to be dipped into the rolling waves nearby, we recommend grabbing a board and hopping into the deep blue. Wallace J. Nichols shares: “We know that water – – being surrounded by blue space — helps you relax, and we know that exercise is good for our bodies and our brains.” It’s a win-win when it comes to this saltwater sport, and with various surf spots all along the coast of California, your relaxing way of spending time in nature is one swell away.

Hiking

David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah specializes in attention and the impact that nature has on our mental well-being.  Strayer hypothesized “that being in nature allows the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command center to dial down and rest, live an overused muscle.” One of the best ways to dial down and rest can be accomplished by taking a simple hike. A favorite outing shared by nature enthusiasts world-world, this exercise is a great option for those hoping to escape from the cares of life. Grab a friend, your favorite pack of trail mix, and your comfy kicks and head out to your favorite trail to take in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of mother earth.

Whale Watching

While the stunning sights around us bring awe into our lives, being in nature and peeking at its wonders are not the only ways to reconnect with the world around us. The wildlife that dwells on our picturesque planet can bring joy and elation to our busy lives as well.

Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, California, is a fantastic option for those who yearn to cruise out and connect with the extraordinary marine wildlife in unforgettable ways. Enabling passengers to get up close and personal with some of the largest, most abundant, and lively creatures on earth, these safari’s leave onlookers both awe-struck and humbled by the thousands of friendly swimmers that can be spotted. Operating year-round and departing daily, these trips are a sure win for any land-living folk who crave the company of the incredible creatures out at sea.

Meditation

One of the most accessible and effortless ways to enjoy life while spending time in nature is the practice of sitting meditation. Meditation has been used for thousands of years by religious leaders, yogi’s, health experts, and common citizens of communities. This practice is an easy exercise of bringing mindfulness and intention to any area of life while sitting and taking in the serenity surrounding us. Taking place both indoors and outdoors, many have found it to be extremely beneficial when done in nature.

In “10 Reasons Why Being Outside is Important” Sydney Sprouce states, “Sitting outside can reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, and decrease cortisol levels. When we are outside our body slows down, helping us feel peaceful and calm.”

Paddleboarding

Remember the last time you were at your favorite sea-side spot and caught sight of that crew of tan-colored compadres rowing away on surfboards? These friends are paddleboarding and it’s a marvelous way to connect with nature while getting a fun workout in as well. Done by lying, kneeling, or standing on a large paddleboard or surfboard, this activity gets you out on the water in the natural world. Researchers in the U.K. found “that when people did physical activities in natural settings instead of “synthetic environments,” they experience less anger, fatigue, and sadness.” We’re all in for a little bit more joy and a lot less anger, fatigue, and sadness, and we’re sure you are too, so we highly recommend a morning, afternoon, or evening out with our favorite tan-colored paddleboarders.

A Day at the Park

Frisbee in hand, snacks packed, and smiles abounding, this fun and casual outing is a great way to get out and be in nature. Whether you’re with your significant other, your friendly four-legged pal, or the kiddos, a day at the park surrounded with fresh greens and sunshine can put the pep in anyone’s step. This option is especially beneficial to children who thrive on the energy that comes from being outdoors.

Richard Louv, author and advocate for a time in nature, has said: “Research has shown that children do better physically and emotionally when they are in green spaces, benefiting from the positive feelings, stress reduction, and attention restoration nature engenders.” So pack up that car full of tykes and head to your nearby park. Those positive feelings are right around the swingset!

Bike Ride

A bike action is a wonderful option for any cycling folks who are hoping to take in the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re in for a leisurely, zippy, or backroads mountain biking expedition, this activity is golden. With bike rental shops along the coast of California, you and your fellow cyclists, tricyclists, and or tandem-bikers can experience the joy of cruising along the beautiful coastline while in view of the pristine pacific ocean. Take in the fresh air, pedal-away, and enjoy reconnecting with nature; both you’re body and mind will thank you.

Yoga

Yoga is a spiritual, mental, and physical practice that has been implemented in the daily routines of individuals striving for better health and well-being. With exercises that range from gentle stretches, deep breathing, and intricate poses, this practice is a beautiful option for any who are seeking greater peace and positivity in their lives. When done outside, it has a calming and grounding effect which many prefer.

Dr. Matthew Baral, a lead lecturer at the Sedona Yoga Festival, said: “The grass, the ocean, the trees are all part of our primeval world. It is where we feel most at home.” When combining both nature and yoga, they can enhance awareness, energy, and confidence leaving us better in tune with ourselves and the world around us.

Stargazing

Connecting with nature doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Stargazing is a five-star option when it comes to soaking in the space above and around us. Enjoy nature to infinity and beyond with an evening spent gazing at the incredible world above.

Best part? This activity can be savored nearly anywhere in the world and is completely free. From New Zealand to Zimbabwe, Russia, and Hawaii, to New York, Mississippi and Malibu, this charming constellation venture will leave you in radical reverence of the magnificent astronomy up top. Grab that comfy sweater, those cozy socks, and your handy dandy telescope and lay back for a peaceful evening under the stars.

With so many easy and enjoyable ways to connect with nature, it’s no wonder why friends and neighbors are unplugging from the world indoors and jetting for the adventurous world outside. Whether you plan to do a little yoga, meditation, surfing, whale watching, or all of the above, we’re positive that your experience will be nothing less than spectacular. Take in a fresh breath of air and say hello to the world of nature that awaits you.

Until next time,

Your friends at Captain Dave’s