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Escape Your House and Head Outside!

No matter the reason, everyone needs out of their house at some point. Whether it be to escape the kids or your significant other, we all need a break sometimes, and this summer, it has been hard to find ways to do that. Most of us enjoy indoor hobbies and social gatherings, but sometimes we forget about outdoor activities. This summer, here are some great ways to get back to nature either in your own company or the socially distanced companionship of others.

 

Hiking/Walking
With the Kal-Haven trail and the multitude of Pump up those tires and take that old bike out for trails in the Kalamazoo area, there is no shortage of hiking spots. Even if you are not a hiker, there are bikeways and sidewalks on most of the roads for pedestrian walkers. This is the easiest way to get that breath of fresh air we all need and to appreciate the little things we forget.

Did you know that walking is proven to boost your mood and your immune system? Even just walking or hiking for 15 minutes can have positive effects on your mind and body. Plus, just seeing plants and flowers is known to be a mood lifter. If you’re feeling the quarantine funk, this is a great way to take a quick, little refresher.

Biking/Boarding
Pump up those tires and take that old bike out for a spin. This activity is a great way to get places fast and not overheat in the meantime. If you can’t find your tire pump or your tire pressure gets too low during your ride, the majority of parks in the city offer tire pumping commodities at the main entrances – so have no fear!

Not a biker? Long-boarding is another fun activity to enjoy outdoors, and with the asphalt trails, it is easy riding. Just don’t forget to learn how to stop first, especially before riding down that big hill you see that looks so tantalizing.

Swimming
We are surrounded by five beautiful Great Lakes and an abundance of swimmable lakes in Michigan. This makes it a prime summer activity for all those beach bunnies and those who enjoy lake activities. Ramona Park is an excellent close-by option for those looking for the “beach scene” with its large expanse of beach, and for those willing to go a little further, South Haven is only a 30-minute drive to scenic Lake Michigan. Don’t want the crowds? Head to a state park with open beaches and thrive in your privacy.

Kayaking
Kayaking is a great lake activity for everyone, and it’s quite the work-out as well. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard at Ramona Beach or travel a bit further to the Fort Custer State Park in Augusta or Gun Lake. Watch the sun hit the lake and paddle yourself around the majestic beauty of the outdoors. Although this outdoor activity is a bit more rugged, it is definitely worth the experience. Who knows – maybe you’ll fall in love with the calmness and purchase your own for further adventure!

Pickleball
Purchase a racket and head to the courts for somepickleball. Most parks have pickleball and tenniscourts, and it is an approved socially distanced activity. Parks are also equipped with basketball courts (hoops are removed right now for safety),softball, and soccer fields. Pickleball is similar toping-pong, but the court is the table, and leaguesare currently underway if you’d like to search something near you. It is easy to learn and gets that adrenaline pumping.

Outdoor Classes and Groups
Many groups and classes have taken their teachings outside! This opens up the door for those looking to join social circles again. If you want to join a yoga class or attend that gardening group, look up the options in your local paper or website.

Hannah Reuter graduated from Western Michigan University in 2015 with a bachelor degree in Economics and currently resides in Portage, MI. In her free time she enjoys strumming the guitar and painting. She is the author of two YA books under the pseudonym, H.B. Catherine. You can find information on her books and writing at hbcatherinewriting.com.

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