I was at the beach the other day with some friends and after a rousing game of “apprehend the frisbee before it nails an unsuspecting stranger,” we all settled on the sand to chat and observe our fellow beachgoers.
Being that I am a movement and fitness nerd, I started doing a mental tally of how many people were either frolicking (i.e. moving their bodies) or napping (i.e. recovering their bodies). It was basically a 70/30 split in favor of frolicking. And of the 70% of frolickers, easily 99% of them were smiling, laughing, and completely unaware of their current rating of perceived exertion (told you I am a nerd).
Observing this got me wondering about the direct and indirect effect of simply being outdoors—in the sunshine, flanked by trees on one side and the ocean on the other, with mountains off in the distance—and how much happier these folks appeared compared to the determined and somewhat dour (in contrast) faces I had seen earlier at the gym. Not only did this setting make me grateful to live where I do but it also inspired me to dig into some research on how green spaces and exercise can have a synergistic effect on us humans.