Opinion

Time spent outdoors helps efficiency

Miami isn’t exactly an “outdoorsy” place. Sure, there’s year-round access to water sports and white sandy beaches, and the city is almost always bathed in sunshine. But few people spend a significant amount of time outside every day, and it’s especially difficult to do so in college.

During the school year, most of us get stuck in our busy routines, and often our only access to the outdoors is walking to our next destination. Even if this does not seem like an issue, it’s important to make time to get outside.

Constantly staying inside makes us more sluggish and likely to procrastinate. Some studies have even suggested that lack of outdoor activity causes common disorders like ADD, especially in children.

It’s easy to adopt inside-only habits. As we spend more time inside, we feel less of a desire to get fresh air. Many students stay inside because they’re putting schoolwork first, and they feel the need to schedule full-day library sessions to keep up with assignments.

Ironically, this strategy discourages efficiency. If you’re skeptical of this, think of any time you’ve set aside three hours to study for an exam, but only used one hour to study without interruptions from Facebook, Buzzfeed or Netflix.

Sadly, this lack of nature isn’t just a college student experience. In a world where children are overscheduled and sheltered, outdoor playtime has been neglected. Some experts have suggested that a lack of nature can limit child development.

A recent article in The Atlantic highlighted how outdoor play encourages free thought, problem solving, conquering of fears and more. The thrill of being outside, climbing and exploring, empowers children to be more independent and self-confident.

These benefits of nature don’t fade away with age. As we are about to step into our adult lives, it is essential that we fine-tune the same characteristics that young children are trying to build; we need confidence, courage and independence, too.

Even a small dose of nature will do. Exploring the arboretum, taking a walk around campus, or sitting by the lake for lunch are all great activities to get more in touch with nature. Taking outdoor breaks can help students relax after hours of classes and homework, allowing them to be more energized to accomplish tasks later on.

Perhaps more importantly, spending time outside reminds us that we’re surrounded by beauty. It can give us a more positive outlook on life. And if there’s anything that can help us prepare for the real world, it’s a refreshed, optimistic attitude.

 

Amanda Wood is a junior majoring in ecosystem science and policy.

April 20, 2014

Reporters

Amanda Wood


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

With Jaquan Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring strain he suffered on Saturday against Toledo, ...

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

The trailer for a documentary exploring the relationships between UM students and Holocaust survivor ...

New technology could help workplaces and schools identify violent intruders before they enter the do ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team will begin her fall campaign Thursday a ...

Through three games, Miami is No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss and the entire Hurricanes def ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The University of Miami soccer team is set to return to Cobb Stadium, where it will host No. 12 Duke ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.