June is National Great Outdoors Month, a time for observing nature and enjoying our surrounding environments. Beginning as a week-long celebration of nature, we now nationally recognize the beautiful countryside, forests and parks of the United States for the entire month of June. This recognition promotes the splendor of our great outdoors and highlights the labors of those who work to preserve nature in our modern world. It raises the awareness of national policies on nature conservation by highlighting the beauty and health benefits of the natural environment.
Texas is fortunate to have such a diverse landscape. The variance in vegetation, wildlife and scenery is awe-inspiring. From the plains of the Panhandle to the grasslands of the Gulf Coast, there is something for everyone in Texas. The abundance of state and national parks in Texas exemplifies its one-of-a-kind beauty. Spread throughout Texas, these protected areas celebrate all of Texas’ diverse regions. Every park allows guests to experience a ‘new’ Texas, or bask in the beauty they already know and love. There is no better way to experience an unknown Texas landscape than through a park.
It is also a great time to take part in activities outside, both light and intensive. Camping, fishing and kayaking are great options, but not easily accessible to everyone. If you have a backyard or live near a park, bird-watching, nature photography or searching for arrowheads are all mindful and thought engaging pastimes. These relaxing hobbies help relieve stress and anxiety. Though they are not strenuous activities, you can still get in some exercise in while doing it. Walking or jogging outside requires nothing but a pair of shoes and can be done anywhere, anytime.
Find activities that are self-paced to help find your skill level. No matter your physical capabilities, what is most important is being outside. Take a moment to be mindful. Walk away from your television, computer and phone, and do something that you enjoy. An afternoon in the sun is also an easy way to soak in vitamin D, a vitamin linked to an increase in bone and brain health. Physical activity outside not only improves your physical strength and endurance, it also greatly benefits your cognitive ability and bone density.
Summers in Texas are no joke. Though the landscape of Texas is diverse, summer temperatures are consistently hot. No matter where you are in Texas, it is important to properly prepare for outside activities. Choosing times in the early morning or late evening is a perfect way to beat the heat.
It’s impossible to avoid intense sun during the summertime. Because of this, putting on sunscreen correctly is very important. According to a recent study by the University of Liverpool, people tend to miss regions on their face, specifically the area around the eyes. Incorrectly applying sunscreen exposes you to harmful UV rays and puts people at risk for skin cancer. It’s all a matter of protecting yourself with a big hat, applying plenty of SPF and staying in the shade when possible.
When it comes to nature, Texans are very lucky. While Texas is home to beautiful national parks like Big Bend and Dinosaur Valley, there is also so much beauty to be found in your own backyard and local parks. Take some time to appreciate the beautiful and unique nature of Texas this month. Surround yourself with tall trees and plants that you don’t know the name of. Walk, jog, and kayak if you can. Do something different, and enjoy yourself in the great outdoors.
The post National Great Outdoors Month: A Great Time to Get Outside appeared first on AARP States.
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