Why Spend Time Outside?
Despite adults spending less than five hours a week outdoors, increasing this time can significantly enhance health, happiness, and energy levels. Many are unaware of the extensive benefits that come with more outdoor time.
1. Better Vision
Outdoor environments offer a natural remedy for eye fatigue and strain, common in our screen-dominated lifestyle. By shifting focus between near and distant objects, outdoor activities can improve eye health, potentially delaying the need for reading glasses and reducing eye strain.
2. Improved Mood
Exposure to nature's colors, particularly green, has been shown to elevate mood, energy, and positivity. Activities like cycling or walking in green spaces can alleviate feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and seasonal depression, offering a natural mood booster.
3. Immune System Boost
The outdoors is rich in phytoncides, natural chemicals from plants that enhance white blood cell count, bolstering the immune system. Additionally, outdoor exposure increases vitamin D intake, crucial for fighting infections and diseases.
4. Feel Calmer
Nature is a natural aromatherapy source, with scents like fresh grass, lavender, and pine known for their calming effects. Engaging in outdoor activities offers a serene escape, promoting relaxation and mental well-being.
5. Improved Creativity
Time spent outside, away from electronics, has been proven to foster creativity and concentration. Experiencing new sights and sounds outdoors stimulates the mind, leading to improved problem-solving skills and innovative thinking.
The benefits of spending time outdoors are vast and varied, ranging from physical health improvements to mental wellness enhancements. For adults looking to boost their overall well-being, incorporating more time in natural settings can be a simple yet effective strategy. A variety of related articles can be found on the benefits of spending time outside.
How Can Adults Spend More Time Outside?
Many adults struggle to find reasons or opportunities to enjoy the outdoors despite its numerous benefits. Here are five simple and comfortable ways to incorporate more outdoor time into your daily routine. These can be great in developing friendships and relationships or creating a team building opportunity for your workplace.
1. Eat Lunch Outside
Transform your lunch break into an outdoor experience. Instead of eating at your desk, take your meal outside to a nearby bench or park. This simple change can add up to seven extra hours of outdoor time each week.
2. Go For Morning Walks
Start your day with a refreshing morning walk, or other physical activity. It's not just an exercise boost; it invigorates your mood, wakes up your mind, and can be as revitalizing as a cup of coffee.
3. Host Outdoor Social Events
Make social gatherings a chance to enjoy the outdoors. Opt for picnics in the park instead of indoor venues, or plan outdoor playdates and family reunions. This can significantly increase your weekly outdoor hours.
4. Get a Dog
Adopting a dog can encourage more outdoor activities, like daily walks. Remember, this should be a well-thought-out decision considering the responsibility and commitment required. If you decide to get a pet, adopting from a local shelter is a great option.
5. Start Your Morning Outdoors
Begin your day by spending a few minutes outside. Just sitting on your porch with your morning coffee or tea can wake you up effectively, potentially improving skin health and metabolism. This routine can add an extra two hours to your outdoor time each week.
Integrating more outdoor time into your daily life doesn't require drastic changes. Small, enjoyable activities like these can significantly enhance your overall well-being and connection to nature. Or in you want some friendly competition in your life try some of the following ideas.
The Best Field Day Games for Adults
Organizing an outdoor field day can be a fantastic way to engage adults in playful, active fun. Here's a curated list of new and classic field day games, offering a mix of favorites and innovative new challenges with minimal playground equipment. This might help spark some more creative fun outdoor game of your own.
A timeless favorite, tug-o-war is simple yet thrilling. Form two teams, grab a rope, and engage in a test of strength and teamwork. The first team to pull the other past a central marker wins.
To play, all you need is a long rope. Separate the group of adults into two teams. The two teams should seem evenly matched, with equal strength and endurance players on both sides of the team. If possible, select two group members to be team leaders and let them choose their teams from the large group. Tie a ribbon in the center of the rope and place a marker on the ground, with the middle of the rope on top of the marker.
2. Three-Legged Race
A hilarious and challenging race that requires coordination and teamwork. Partners tie their adjacent legs together and race to the finish line. For extra fun, try it with groups of three or four.
To play, partner everyone into groups of two. Tie the right leg of one person to the left leg of the other person. When the two people walk, they will have to move the tied leg in harmony with their partner, or the pair will trip. Line up all of the teams on a starting line and have them race towards a finish line. The first team to get to the other side wins.
3. Wheelbarrow Race
This game combines strength and coordination, where one person acts as the 'wheelbarrow' and the other as the 'pusher'. Teams race to a finish line in this amusing and competitive challenge.
To play, have everyone get together with a partner. One person will be the pusher, and the other is the wheelbarrow. Have one person lay down on the ground, face down, with their hands palm down beneath them. The partner will stand behind the person and lift up their feet from the ground, while the person lying pushes up with their palms simultaneously.
4. Blind Volleyball
Add a twist to volleyball by draping a sheet over the net, making the other team's actions a mystery. This game requires keen senses and quick reflexes.
Start by setting up the volleyball net and court as a normal court. Then, drape a large sheet over the net so you can’t see the other side of the court (you might need two sheets for this). Once the court is set up, play a regular game of volleyball. The main difference is that the teams can't see what the other team is doing. Neither team will be able to guess where the volleyball will be coming from, adding a new twist to the classic game.
5. 9 Square
9 square is a new variation of four square, a classic recess game popular for younger children. Nine square takes the competition and team-building of four square and creates a new, engaging game perfect for family older kids and party games. The game is played on a lifted, three by three courts, creating nine squares lifted above the players’ heads. Each player stands in a square, with the middle square as the Queen or King square. The other squares rotate around the middle square as each player vies to earn their place in the center square.
A ball is thrown into the court and falls through one of the squares. That player must hit the ball up and out of their square and into another player’s square. If the ball falls and hits the ground in someone’s square, that player is out, and all the others move up a position to fill the space, introducing a new player to the game. If someone hits the ball out of the courts, that player is out and replaced.
This game is a perfect outdoor game for a family field day. It is constantly rotating, making sure that more than nine players are always actively participating. Follow the previous link to learn more.
6. Ultimate Frisbee
This game is like a mix of football and frisbee, requiring strategy, agility, and teamwork. The goal is to catch the frisbee in the opponent's end zone, with dynamic play switching between offense and defense.
Players can catch and throw the frisbee as many times during a game but cannot move once they’ve caught the frisbee. The goal of the game is to catch the frisbee in the end zone of the opposing team. If a player catches the frisbee in the opposite team's end zone, they win a point.
7. Clothes Race
Doing a clothes relay is an easy way to get the entire group laughing and having fun. Bring bags of oversized clothes to the field day. Each participant will be running the relay independently, so there’s no need to separate the group into teams. Have each person pick out an oversized shirt, oversized shorts, and a large jacket. Place the shirt and jacket on the other side of the short field and the shorts at the starting line. Everyone will line up and race to the other side, where they will put on the oversized shirt as quickly as possible. Once the shirt is one, they can run back to the starting line and put on the shorts. They will then run back to the other end and put on the jacket before racing back to the starting line. The first person to finish wins.
Another way to have a clothes relay is to split the group into two teams and give each team an oversized shirt. The first person in the line will put on the oversized shirt. The goal is to get the shirt from one side of the line to the other before the other team can finish. To pass the shirt, players will grasp their hands together while a third player will lift the shirt over the first person’s head and back down on the second person. The shirt must be pulled on and pulled down to fit before moving onto the next player. To increase difficulty then you might have the relay race involve an obstacle course.
8. Ice Breaker Race
Prepare frozen clothes in advance for this chilly challenge. Teams race to thaw and wear the frozen garments, using tools to chip away at the ice. This game is perfect for hot summer days.
Bring the frozen clothes balls to the field day and give each team a set of clothes. Also, hand them hammers, sticks, forks, spoons, and other tools to chip away at the ice. The first team to get their clothes out of the ice and either fully dress one member in all the clothes or have everyone wear at least one clothing item will win the game.
9. Life-Sized Battleship
This water balloon game is a large-scale version of the classic Battleship board game. Teams take turns lobbing water balloons over a net, aiming to hit opponents they can't see. This is one of the best adapted water games to date, taking this hybrid of water balloon toss and battleship to new levels.
To set up the game, find a volleyball court and string up sheets over the net, making it so that both sides are obscured from the other--make sure that you can’t see beneath the net. Then, have the teams lay down on both sides. Give the teams a bucket of filled water balloons. The starting team will launch a water balloon over the net and hope to land the water balloon on someone. The other team is not allowed to move, even when they see the water balloon flying over the net. The teams will take turns launching the balloons, trying to hit each player one time. For a longer field day activity, make it so that each player has to be hit twice for the other team to win.
10. Mummy Wrap
A great idea for a field day game for both adults and kids is the Mummy Wrap. To play, all you will need is a Costco-sized bundle of toilet paper. Separate the group into teams, make sure that there are at least four people on each team. Select one person from each team to be the mummy. The other players on the teams will be tasked with wrapping the mummy head to toe with toilet paper as fast and efficiently as they can. At the end of a timer, the team with the best-wrapped mummy wins.
11. Pizza Box Run
Before playing your backyard games, order pizza for the group. When the pizza is gone, use their game to reuse the boxes. This game is a fun relay race that gets everyone up and moving after eating the pizza. For the game, each player will need a pizza box. You can get pizza boxes from your local chain pizza place. Split the group into two teams and then place half on the team on one side and the other half on the other side of the field, each player holding their pizza box. The first team member will run across the field with their pizza box and give it to the next player in line. They will run across the field with two pizza boxes and pass their pile to the third player. The relay continues until the team completes the race, with one person attempting to balance all of their pizza boxes as they race back to the finish line.
12. Life-Size Hungry Hungry Hippos
Hungry Hungry Hippos is a common kid’s game. The game is played on a small board where all small plastic balls are rolling in a circular arena. The kids each control a tiny hippo that moves forward with its mouth open, swallowing the plastic balls. Take this classic childhood game and make it life-size.
To turn this into a life-size field game, you will need the following items:
- Longboards for each team
- Pool noodles cut into small pieces
- Ping pong balls
- Cornhole sacks
- Small laundry baskets for each team
In the center of a circular area (this can be marked with tape), place the pool noodle pieces, ping pong balls, and any other material you’ve collected. Each team will set up equal distance apart on the tape line around the circle. One team member will lay down on the skateboard while the other teammate holds their legs. In this position, the team member lying on the skateboard will hold out their laundry basket with their hands. The one holding onto their legs will push them out towards the center so he or she can capture balls using the basket. The team will pull the person back and deposit the balls. All of the participating teams will be playing simultaneously, meaning that this fun game will be fast-paced and competitive.
Virtual Field Day Activities
For those who can’t meet for a physical field day, host a virtual field day where everyone gets together outside in their different backyard over Zoom or Skype. Here are three easy ideas for that have recieved recent posts on social media that could make a great virtual field day event.
1. Among Us
The phone game Among Us has quickly taken over the App Store, becoming one of the most popular games of 2020. The idea for the game is that a group of eight astronauts is sent to space. Somehow, an alien takes control of one of the crewmates (you can also play with two or three imposters). The alien is trying to kill the astronauts while the astronauts try to guess who the alien is. The game is played with ten people who meet up in a virtual lobby. Once in the game, the app randomly selects two people to be the “imposter.” The imposter tries to kill the other players in the virtual game while everyone else tries to vote out the imposter.
2. I Spy
Playing I Spy is an easy virtual game that gets everyone up and moving. To play, make sure everyone has their video screen on, so you can see everyone participating in the field day. One person will start by saying, “I spy [a common household object].” Everyone else has to run and find the object in their home and bring it back to the screen. The first person to return with the object wins the round. The game continues until one person wins up to five points. This fun scavenger hunt gets everyone involved.
3. Fashion Show
For this fun activity, make sure everyone prepares the day before and creates an outfit from common household items. Then, one by one, have everyone show off their fashion show outfit by having them walk slowly towards their screen, pretending they're on a runway. This activity is great for both kids and adults because you can modify it to fit the needs of the people playing. You’re likely to see a few toilet paper outfits, several duct tape outfits, potato sack outfits, and a few outfits made out of food. When everyone has finished, vote for the favorites.