In the days following Thanksgiving, it can feel as if consumers are inundated with unlimited marketing efforts to encourage the upcoming season of shopping. In 2015, in an attempt to get people outside instead of indoors shopping on Black Friday, REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) branded a campaign and hashtag #optoutside encouraging consumers to forego stamped-like shopping in favor of fresh air and movement.
Benefits of Fresh Air
As daylight diminishes and cooler temperatures prevail, many people find themselves slowing down, feeling lethargic, and having little resistance to sweet and savory holiday treats. By opting outside, you may reap the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Some of these benefits include: clearing of the lungs, added energy and mental focus, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and improved digestion.
Why You Should Consider Making This an Annual Tradition
Whether you are able to get outside on Black Friday, REI’s annual #optoutside day, or in the days following, you are setting the tempo for good self-care during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when stress levels reach their peak. Not only does making an outdoor hike or walk offer health benefits, but it is also another way to enjoy your surroundings and make memories with your family that are less commercially driven and more about enjoying time out in nature together.
As military families are seeking to connect with one another and potentially missing out on the Thanksgiving traditions “back home,” creating new memories with your loved ones in the town you are living in can have a huge impact for years to come. In fact, the more the merrier so consider asking your neighbors or your local friends to tag along and join you.
Where to Go
You and your family don’t have to make a trek to the Grand Canyon or hike the Appalachian Trail to enjoy getting outdoors. Lace-up your tennis shoes or hiking boots and step right outside your front door. Walking your neighborhood sidewalks is a good start, but check out local parks, trails, or nearby state parks if you are looking to enjoy a change of scenery with more scenic views. Applications like All Trails allow users to search over 200,000 trails with trail information, maps, detailed reviews, and photos curated by hikers, campers, and nature lovers.
Open to Act
In the years following this movement has spread to include campaign extensions like Open to Act, an attempt to encourage people to leave outdoor places better than they found them. Many state and local parks use this as a clean-up or conservation day, utilizing the global manpower of lots of folks in one location at one time.
This is a natural pairing for many military members and their families as they are already accustomed to living a lifestyle that promotes improving a place through their service and involvement in the community. What better way to preserve the environment and your physical and mental health than to take advantage of the great outdoors during the final days of the year.