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The great outdoors

It’s no secret that a little outdoor activity can work wonders in terms of our mental and physical wellbeing. Given the resurgence of COVID-19 and its variants, it may be safer to seek recreational opportunities outside as well.

For students at Ohio University, who have just experienced a very unusual year-and-a-half and are now back on campus, officials decided to develop a program that would increase opportunities outdoors.

“Being in nature can be really good for our mental health. It can help us reduce stress and reduce mental fatigue and improve our mood and self-esteem,” said Eileen Marsal Koch, licensed professional clinical counselor with the office of Counseling and Psychological Services at Ohio University. “Exercising all by itself is a natural anti-depressant that can help people improve their mood. We have feel-good chemicals like serotonin in our brain that gets activated, and when you combine that with being outside it produces even more endorphins so it can boost your mood even more.”

OU’s Outdoor Pursuits program includes day trips, overnight trips, week-long trips and even challenge programs. It is a wonderful addition to the opportunities available.

But one does not have to be a college student to take advantage of the outdoors. People of all ages should be looking for ways to enjoy the wonders around us while getting a little exercise and fresh air.

OU is on the right track in encouraging students to get out there and get active. The rest of us should take that cue and do the same.

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