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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Spending time outdoors is linked to improved wellness

ON+THE+WATER.+There+are+many+ways+to+spend+time+outdoors%2C+including+waterskiing+and+other+water+sports+that+are+perfect+for+the+spring+and+summer.+%28Submitted+Photo%3A+Adele+Gjerde%29
ON THE WATER. There are many ways to spend time outdoors, including waterskiing and other water sports that are perfect for the spring and summer. (Submitted Photo: Adele Gjerde)

Besides peace and tranquility, recent research points to overall health and wellness benefits of being outside. Spending time in nature improves cognitive performance on tests and attention span, and even boosts creativity and problem-solving capacities.
A study in Denmark examined 900,000 residents born from 1985-2003 and found that children who lived in neighborhoods with more green space had reduced risks of mental disorders later in life. Urban environments are often linked to attention deficits, while natural environments will strengthen attentional control.
Many SPA students have incorporated physical activity outside, whether it is participating in competitive sports or simply enjoying nature. Junior Adele Gjerde enjoys waterskiing. “I have been water skiing since I was really little, since I was four or five,” she said. “It makes me a lot happier – I love being in nature and doing something active.”
Even the auditory experience of nature has been shown to have recuperative effects on cognitive function. Studies from the Psychonomic Bulletin Review revealed that participants who listened to nature sounds, such as crickets chirping or the sound of the ocean, performed better on cognitive tests than those who were subjected to urban noises such as traffic, sirens and the clatter of city life.

It makes me a lot happier – I love being in nature and doing something active.

— Adele Gjerde

Spending time outside also offers a combination of physical benefits that contribute to overall wellness. Engaging in outdoor activities encourages physical movement and exercise, boosting cardiovascular health. Regular physical activity in nature can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels and boost Vitamin D levels.

Even when the weather gets cold, Gjerde finds a way to make it outside. “When it’s cold I do downhill [skiing],” she said.
With the arrival of spring, it’s a good time to engage in a diverse range of outdoor activities that boost mental and physical well-being. For Gjerde, she finds time to head to the water more often. “During the summer, I ski definitely on the weekends and then twice a week during the week,” she said.
The next time creativity isn’t flowing or a break from schoolwork is needed, try spending time outside.

Here are some fun outdoor activities and places to explore this spring.
1. Play pickup pickleball at the Lake Nokomis Pickleball Courts
2. Bring friends to play beach volleyball at Phalen beach in St. Paul
3. Art-Walk in the Park at the St. Louis Park Library, Mar. 10
4. Do yoga with goats on a farm in Hastings

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Olympia Wolff
Olympia Wolff, Copy Editor
My name is Olympia Wolff (she/her). I work as a Copy Editor for The Rubicon. At school, I’m involved in volleyball. I love to write, go out for coffee, and bring my dog to the dog park. I can be reached at [email protected].

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