Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Jun

Why You Should Work Outside

workingoutdoorsWe’ve discussed the “nature-deficit disorder” running rampant throughout contemporary society before. Kids are more likely to control characters in video games who explore vast outdoor worlds (and complain about the graphics “not being realistic enough”) rather than get out and explore the real world themselves (which has excellent graphics, a pretty snazzy physics engine, and killer AI). Adults are likely to go entire days without stopping to smell a flower, pluck a leaf, caress a blade of grass, or even see a shred of foliage. We’ve also written about some of the incredible health benefits that occur once people correct that deficit and go forest bathing, or hiking, or commiserating with animals, or even planting a small garden on their property. In other words, a lack of nature seems to cause physical and mental health problems, while an exposure to nature seems to improve physical and mental health.

What’s going on here?

If you look at things through the lens of evolution, you notice that we’re doing things differently than we’ve ever done before. People live in suburbs or urban centers. Rural communities are shrinking, urban sprawl is widening. Green space is disappearing. And we’re suffering. A lack of nature is incredibly unhealthy. Being in and around leaves and trees and sand and bugs and dirt and desert and all the rest is the natural state of the animal known as man. It’s home. It’s in our blood and in our genes. We might have adapted to spending lots of time indoors, but not completely. The evidence is all around us, if you just pay attention:

The young child who runs around the park like a chicken with his head removed just to do it.

The sullen teen, whose parents drag him kicking and screaming to the redwoods for a hike, who has to leave behind his iPhone, who enjoys himself despite his best efforts to the contrary.

That feeling when you walk through the grass with bare feet as the sun dips below the horizon and you’re hit with a flood of purples and pinks, where if you didn’t know better you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was dawn or dusk.

And finally, the office worker who goes on vacation to Costa Rica, does nothing but sit on the beach at the edge of a jungle teeming with howler monkeys and impossibly brightly-colored birds for two weeks, and comes back healthier, happier, stress-free, and down ten pounds.

Yeah, for a great many people, work stinks. Actually, let’s put that a little differently: For a great many people, indoor work stinks. What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if you could work outside, commune with nature as you typed, feel the grass underfoot as you brainstorm, and hear not the drone of the overhead lighting but rather the chirp of the bird, the caw of the crow, and the overpowering stillness of the outdoors? There’s very little direct research dealing with the effect of working outside versus indoors, but I think we can make some predictions based on the considerable evidence for the benefits of being outside in general.

Unfortunately, the benefits of working outdoors aren’t always obvious. What does your boss care if you feel more relaxed when you take your work outside? If it doesn’t translate to improved earnings, the higher-ups generally aren’t going to take it into account. They might care on a personal level, but there is no way to accurately or reliably quantify the benefits to the business. Or if you’re the boss, either of employees or yourself, why should you want to switch everything up and start working outside? What’s in it for you, besides feeling better and some random health benefits? How will it affect a person’s ability to work?

Stress Alleviation

The clear-cut, most obvious problem with work is job-related stress. We’re pushed too hard for too little pay. This can be stressful. We’re doing something we’d rather not, rather than doing something we actually enjoy. This is stressful as well. We’re competing with our workmates for promotions, pay raises, or even just to keep our jobs. Such competition, especially prolonged competition, can be stressful. We’re looking over our shoulders, worrying about layoffs and mergers and fluctuations in other markets that affect our employment. This can be stressful, especially because so much is ultimately out of our immediate control. It’s no wonder, then, that people assume that the stress comes entirely from the actual work. Doing anything for eight hours at a time, especially when you don’t particularly care for it and particularly when you sit down the entire time with nary a break, can be draining and stressful. You toss in a long commute and a boss you hate, and things get even worse.

But I think there’s much more to job-related stress than the job. I think the physical work environment – the office, the cubicle, the indoor lighting, the walls boxing you in, the uniform sameness of it all – also plays a role, perhaps even the primary role. After all, evidence is mounting that nearly all lab animals are perpetually stressed, primarily because their natural habitats are vastly different than the lab habitat. If we’re in a similar position, spending a third of our days in physical environments that are wholly alien to our genes, subject to lighting that’s not as bright as the sun, windows that only some of the UV rays through, walls that keep us penned in, chairs that keep us immobile, and a distinct lack of greenery, dirt, sand, silt, mud, muck, bugs, and trees, increased stress is a likely result.

As to why we should want to improve our experience at work and reduce stress, job-related stress isn’t just unpleasant and, well, stressful. It can also complicate, complement, and exacerbate metabolic syndrome, raising triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of renal and heart disease. Pretty hard to get those TPS reports done with a failing kidney. Oh, and happier and less stressed workers are also better workers. Overall, occupational stress is a huge target. If we can reduce that by working outside, we’ll probably have mitigated a big portion of the stress in our lives.

Attention Restoration

For all intents and purposes, humans have two “types” of attention: voluntary, or active attention; and involuntary, or passive attention. When we’re working (or reading, or writing, or watching a TV show, or trying to remember a phone number), we are using voluntary attention. We have chosen to direct our attention toward this task, this task demands our full and sustained attention, and we are actively attending to it. An artist, a craftsman, a teacher, a golfer, an insurance broker, a copywriter – they all use voluntary attention to do their thing. Everyone who does anything does. Of course, voluntary attention takes a lot out of us. It’s tiring. It must be sustained, but it’s not indefinitely sustainable. We need a break from it.

Involuntary attention refers to “soft fascination.” It’s watching two birds in flight, an ant carrying food back to the nest, a leaf fluttering down from the tree, carried by the wind. It’s hearing a child’s cry, a trickling creek, a distant waterfall. It’s a respite from voluntary attention, because it doesn’t really require active engagement. It’s just there, and we’re observing it, almost like we’re “meant” to see this type of stuff on a regular basis without it occupying too much brain power.

If voluntary attention is like an intense workout, involuntary attention is the low-intensity active recovery, the walking, the mobility work, the cool down. We need both to be whole and healthy and attentive. If we spend all our time engaged in voluntary, active attention – like 10 hour days at work, 2 hour commutes, and 2 hours of late night TV – our performance declines, we get mental fatigue, and we’re less able to respond to novel situations and plan ahead. In short, we get overtrained.

Research shows that nature exposure is a way to foster involuntary attention, since walking in the woods doesn’t require us to “be on.” And if we move our work outside, to even just a small sliver of nature like a garden or a park, research shows that we can restore our attentional capacity, our balance between voluntary and involuntary attention. Our voluntary attention is the precious, finite resource that allows us to excel at work-related pursuits, and going into nature can replenish our stores of voluntary attention and, subsequently, our ability to work smarter and better. Why, it’s like using your laptop while it’s plugged in – you can operate at full screen brightness, have three browsers with tons of tabs open, watch videos, render graphics, edit photos, and play music, all at the same time. Okay, so that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it will almost certainly help your performance.

There’s this idea that dallying in nature is wasteful, or that it’s time that could be better spent being productive, making money (especially for someone else!). I’m not buying it. For hundreds of thousands of years, people have been making tools, setting traps, building homes, butchering beasts, discovering math, science, physics, and astronomy, all while living in or near nature. Until recently, the wild was all around most of us. Even if you lived in the city or a village, nature was waiting outside the walls. Still we worked, and worked well. Why not now? Why not today?

As John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” Going outside is “going home.” Now just imagine if you could work from home, too.

That’s the “why.” Next week, I’ll discuss the “how.” In the meantime, go outside, will ya?

Thanks for reading, folks. Thoughts, comments, and concerns are welcome, as always.

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. In July my family and I are going to explore the Dakotas, Yellow Stone etc. The days will be filled with hiking (and carrying our 4 year old!), star gazing, open fire cooking, tent camping etc.

    I’ve not had time off longer than an extended weekend since 2009 and between then and now very few trips to my bro inlaws tree farm which is only 60 minutes south of me. My mind is crying out for nature, crying out for the only technology being flash lights, digital camera and some basic supplies.

    I am one of these people, as soon as I step in the forest, close my eyes and take a deep breath my pulse slows, my blood pressure goes down and stress begins to fade.

    The point? We humans need this! And I am a prime example of having access to land, but NOT using it due to the hassles and busy schedule of modern life and I am so trying to free up my schedule for at min. bi-weekly trips down south to relax.

    Tesen wrote on June 7th, 2012
  2. Rocky Mountain high…

    Groktimus Primal wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • I hear that! I have a Rocky Mountain trail right outside my door. I usually enjoy the company of trail creatures quite a bit more than street creatures.

      Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on June 7th, 2012
  3. I work in a hospital but I make it a priority to go outside during my breaks. Plus, now that it’s warmer out, outdoor workouts are the greatest.

    Troy Archie wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • absolutely I work in a hospital too, but I try and get outside. and there’s nothing like a few sprint sessions out in the sun!

      Burn wrote on June 7th, 2012
      • I work in a new, tall hospital building – the second tallest building in my city! I figured out that my badge lets me onto the roof! I go up there on my breaks and can see a little aurora borealis or the huge moon hanging over the bay. It’s like getting my chalkboard cleaned every time I go up there. For hours after, I’m floating on air. Once, I even caught the sun exactly as it broke over the mountains. So even us work rats can find ways to connect with nature. :)

        As a night shifter, I can’t do much outdoors without risking getting stabbed or people trying to sell me drugs or ask for change. But I get good workouts on the pipes in the stairwells, etc. And sprint in the park on my days off.

        Knifegill wrote on June 7th, 2012
        • I feel you on the night shift. Course I work in a jail so I done have to go outside for criminals. My only sunshine comes on days off, but fortunately I live in the country and have plenty of yard work.

          robert wrote on June 10th, 2012
    • I work indoors as a nurse in a hospital. My days off are spent outside as much as I can. Yesterday I had the passive enjoyment of watching a painted turtle lay eggs in my yard. It was the most amazing thing…

      cnymicaa wrote on June 7th, 2012
      • I work Outside :-) To weather’s Mercy :-) I love it!!! I may not be rich but i feel i have so much more.Well…maybe i’ll be rich someday but at the moment i have what i need: Nature!

        Alexandra wrote on June 3rd, 2013
    • I also work at a hospital. I always make sure to soak-up enough sun before I go in to last me through my shift!

      Robert wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Wow-what hospital do you work at? My management has gone crazy, and I have so much work I rarely get breaks. One of the things I love about the PB diet is how much energy I have; I no longer feel like falling face first into bed when I get off shift. Still hate the pace, though. My manager is so schizo that she tells me ( after her patient rounds) how much my patients love me because I talk to them and teach them so much, then later berates me for punching out 20 minutes late (to finish minimal charting on my three afternoon admissions). I was actually thinking about going outside today-it was beautiful-but my hospital has banned smoking on the premesis and so all the sidewalks are filled with smokers. So not worth it. Hate to leave my patients, but I’m seriously considering trying for a less stressful job.

      BJML wrote on June 7th, 2012
  4. I am now going to plan a week long vacation to Costa Rica.

    Todd Watson wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • fincadevida.com

      kev wrote on June 13th, 2012
  5. When the weather is nice, i always exercise outdoors. That might mean moving my bench and weights out into my yard or heading into one of the local mountains where there are bars for doing pull-ups and dips, as well as climbing ropes. It’s also nice to exercise outdoors shortly after a heavy rainfall because the air has a nice fresh smell to it.

    Brad wrote on June 7th, 2012
  6. Love this. As an eco-architect, connecting people to Nature through buildings is one of my main motivations. Not that the buildings will substitute for the outdoors, ever, but studies (like this: http://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/downloads/The%20Economics%20of%20Biophilia_Terrapin%20Bright%20Green%202012e.pdf ) have shown a productivity and health benefit to nature-loving design.

    Going Primal, therefore walking more, getting more sun, etc., have made this much more apparent and clear to me. Hmm, Primal Architecture for the 21st c. …

    Tom Bassett-Dilley wrote on June 7th, 2012
  7. ok, off my butt, walking the dog right now

    Ann wrote on June 7th, 2012
  8. re: “sullen teen… who enjoys himself despite his best efforts to the contrary.”

    A local school takes their 6th graders on a trip to Southern Utah in the spring. Rule 1: no electronics allowed on the trip. When the kids hear that, you would think they were being dipped in boiling oil from the complaints!

    Attitudes start to change within a few hours, on the drive down. And almost without exception, on return 5 days later, the kids all say it was one of their most memorable experiences, and they were glad they didn’t have the electronics with them.

    John wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Isn’t it amazing what a difference the “no electronics” rule makes? I watch kids all the time have these things taken away. It usually takes them just a little while to adjust and before they know it, they’ve forgotten all about them. :-)

      Happycyclegirl wrote on June 11th, 2012
  9. Where I work, most of us go for a 15 minute walk at 9am and 2pm. It’s great! But I’m always amused when they ask me why I’m walking on the grassy knoll (under the trees!) while they speed walk on the street. So many reasons! Shade, grass, wind in the trees, birds, moss, mushrooms, flowers, pine cones…

    Meesha wrote on June 7th, 2012
  10. I almost forgot, cutting the lawn is a great way to spend some time outdoors. If you don’t have a lawn, you could even volunteer to cut some ageing neighbours’.

    Brad wrote on June 7th, 2012
  11. Sometimes (usually) the weather is not helpful here in the UK! However, to make up for this I have put plants by my computer and it by the window. I can drift way from my school work (I’m a primary school teacher) to watch the birds, flowers, insects etc even when ‘working’. A compromise maybe but it still allows for the involuntary attention Mark mentions above.

    Ragwort wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Good idea. After all, it is the simple things that often produce rewarding results.

      Brad wrote on June 7th, 2012
  12. I decided as a young woman that life behind a desk would probably kill me. Long years of school held about the same appeal, so I had a long string of low wage, service oriented jobs before becoming a stay at home Mom and business owner.

    My early commitment to ensuring I had a life where I could enjoy regular (daily) communes with nature has been successful, but not a path that I could see the majority of folks travelling.

    In fact my ultimate goal is to one day have a retreat for the urban, nature deficient to enjoy reconnecting with the earth on many levels. If the need for such a place disappeared before I get to my goal, I would not be disappointed at all.

    yoolieboolie wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • I like your plan.

      This is kind of my story too. I think the most depressed I ever was in my life was when I worked 9-12 hour shifts in a big corporate office. Even my friends noticed a big change in me. I was anxious and miserable all the time. I quit that, did other creative work for a while, and now I’m a stay at home mom working towards becoming a yoga teacher.

      I literally just came home from a 3 hour jaunt to the park with my daughter. I do this on my bike because one of the sacrifices we’ve made for me to be home is I got rid of my car. We spend so much time outside (usually at one of our lovely parks) most days that my daughter really doesn’t play with toys. She loves books, but almost all of her toys don’t get played with.

      Casey wrote on June 7th, 2012
      • It seems when we strive be satisfied with less, things automatically get simpler. :)

        yoolieboolie wrote on June 7th, 2012
      • I cut my working hours to 3 days a week. It causes some financial stress, but the pay off is worth it a hundred times over. Time to walk in the woods, sit out in the sunshine, observe nature, and do whatever I want to do. It’s how life should be, not this perpetual work-spend-work-spend madness that propels most people through life.

        Liz wrote on June 8th, 2012
      • I can totally relate to exactly what you said. Whatever they were paying me sure doesn’t seem very important anymore. An article like this would have probably caused me to stop doing it sooner. Whatever alternate points of view about work and existence were rare and definitely not this well-articulated.

        Cheryl Boswell wrote on June 8th, 2012
  13. Well, I’ve been needing an excuse to buy some new patio furniture… “I’m moving my office outside! Booyah!”

    SmokeFan14 wrote on June 7th, 2012
  14. Great post!

    Santa Fe really lends itself to this (from May-Oct, anyway!)

    I’ve done some coaching via Skype on my patio & just finished a blog post–on Primal fertility nutrition, no less!– while sunbathing on my new lounge chair.

    Sondra Rose wrote on June 7th, 2012
  15. The comment about kids complaining about the reality of video games was amusing to me: my 10 year old loves his computer, but once, on a hike, he commented that it’s nice that nature doesn’t lag the way his video games do. When I first started hiking with him, he was constantly comparing nature to a particular game he plays. I pointed out that the guys who made the game had to experience the real thing before they could put it into the game.

    Sarah Jane wrote on June 7th, 2012
  16. Thanks for the inspiration! I went outside and immediately fashioned a makeshift stand up desk. I’m already happier! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150846488176360

    Dave wrote on June 7th, 2012
  17. My husband is a letter carrier and has one of the few walking routes left in the city. I’m sure it’s a big factor in his superb health.

    dragonmamma wrote on June 7th, 2012
  18. This is one of the things I love about being a geologist. Yes, I do have a lot of indoor work to do, writing grants, doing lab work, and then analyzing and writing up the results, but I also have to go go out into nature to get the data or samples to analyze. A bad day outside is always better than a good day inside.

    Susanne wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • I’m a geologist, too! I’m in AZ. I only wish my job was more related to my love of geology and being outdoors to map/sample/walk/experience it. Where are you?

      Kevin wrote on June 7th, 2012
      • Also a geologist, in Australia. But nowadays have a business in landscaping construction. All of my work is outdoors and I love it, except for the occasional days tramping through mud. Everything has it’s pros and cons, but I’d never go back to indoor work unless it was 2 days a week max… or I was starving.

        Colin wrote on June 11th, 2012
  19. This is clearly why camping is so damn fine for my soul. I am a night shift worker, and working in a dimly lit building when I should be sleeping is killing me bit by bit. When I camp, I am utterly rejuvenated.

    Wendy wrote on June 7th, 2012
  20. This is good to remember even in the winter months.

    Most people fail to realize that our bodies are actually waterproof and that it takes a fair amount of exposure (of heat or cold) to have any real negative effects.

    Doug wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • This is true! People think I’m nuts that I take my daughter to the park in 20 degree weather. Like, I’m going to make her sick just because we’re outside.

      Oh, and nothing beats the peacefulness that is winter camping.

      Casey wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Lol, every summer I have to acclimate my kids to other people being at the park. They get so used to it being deserted in the rainy “cold” of 40° winters.

      yoolieboolie wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • “Our bodies are actually waterproof” – AMEN! I can’t tell you the number of times people say they don’t want to go for a walk or run because it’s raining out – nothing better than a light rain to moisturize your skin, I say. And jumping in puddles is fun.

      Gydle wrote on June 8th, 2012
  21. I’m fortunate to work outside as much as, if not more than, I work outdoors. I do outdoor adventure education so I’m always climbing trees on the challenge course or taking kids mountain biking, hiking, camping, canoeing, or rock climbing. I think I would go insane if I had to spend more time working indoors than I already do.

    Today is one of those days that I’m stuck at the desk, but it’s a beautiful day and I’m sneaking out for a walk!

    Justin wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • What a perfect primal job!! And getting kids into outdoor activities to boot! (Is there some “jealousy emoticon” that I could end this with?)

      Chica wrote on June 8th, 2012
  22. As much as I love the Colorado Rockies (mountains) I think I would most enjoy living in a Southern California beach town where my exercise and contact with nature each day wasn’t a hike but a scuba dive or snorkel. Oh I miss the ocean!

    Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on June 7th, 2012
  23. What great timing. I literally just got back from going home for lunch, slipping into my bathing suit and getting some rays in the backyard while I ate my steak salad. I do it whenever it’s sunny. I now feel validated instead of guilty. :)

    Janet wrote on June 7th, 2012
  24. It’s very appropriate that I read this while taking my lunch break outside, with my sleeves rolled up, sitting in the sun, with my shoes off and my feet in the grass. Unfortunately,doing clerkships on the hospital floors means there’s no chance of me taking my work outside, but I study outside as much as possible, and take as many breaks as I can outside, with my feet in the grass while making some vitamin D!

    Victoria wrote on June 7th, 2012
  25. I couldn’t agree more! Being inside all day makes me jumpy. Everyone at work laughed when I took a smaller office than I could have…I took it because the smaller one has 2 huge windows and the larger one was an interior office. I never turn on the florescent lights and I go outside in the middle of the day and walk for an hour. Office work will kill you if you don’t fight back!

    Ida Palma wrote on June 7th, 2012
  26. Story of my life! Too much work for too little pay…a boss that I hate…and a cubicle with NO WINDOWS ANYWHERE! It stresses me out…and I try not to let it.

    I have been brainstorming and researching to start my own business. Primal restaurant? Doggie Daycare? A farm? I want to spend my days doing what I love. I don’t even care if I make a lot of money.

    This also reminds me that my husband and I need to schedule a camping trip and a trip to the beach! We are also trying to introduce my stepson to fishing and camping since he has only been a couple times with boyscouts. That boy needs to experience reality instead of screaming at whatever shooting/killing game he is playing at the time. :(

    Primal Pants wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • lol! I have been brainstorming, too! It’s hard to find a farm to work in LA, and starting my own business is scary, but I am really tired of a desk job, too. I’m working on it! baby steps

      Meesha wrote on June 7th, 2012
  27. My husband and I love to wander around and explore, just for the thrill of exploring. A nice outing for us is visiting a new park, haha! People miss what’s going on all the time, there is SO much life around you that people just sail past.
    Even walking home from Safeway, it’s not uncommon to see us bent over a plant studying a caterpillar we spotted, lol…

    Nionvox wrote on June 7th, 2012
  28. I have had two jobs in the last 6 years and they are primarily desk jobs on average. I distinctly remember one night I was at the office at 9 pm in a salary job with no over time pay and I was so frustrated at because things weren’t going well. I got up, paced back and forth, looked at my “cubic hell” and shouted, “This is not my [insert choice cuss word here] life!!!”

    I knew then I would need to make getting out of the office a priority as soon as possible. Sadly, not there yet, but I certainly haven’t given up!

    For now, I do occasional, brief workouts during lunch, and I do them outside.

    As a geologist I love the outdoors. I hope to be my own boss someday or free enough to not need to work so much and enjoy every moment away from a desk, fluorescent lights, and caged rooms.

    Excellent post :)

    Kevin wrote on June 7th, 2012
  29. Ok, Mark. Now, not only do I have to convince my boss to let me have a stand-up work station but now I have to ask for my stand-up work station to be outside? Wish me luck, everyone!

    Christina wrote on June 7th, 2012
  30. i am so fortunate that my office has a sliding glass door that acutally opens, and right outside is a (manmade) waterfall and brook, with lots of trees and bushes. i open my door first thing in the morning, and listen to running water and birds all day long. right now, as i type this, thunder is rolling! next best thing to being able to drag my desk outside…

    Cathy wrote on June 7th, 2012
  31. Yeah, I wish I could spend more time outdoors. Eventually, I may get to arrange that.

    But there are some times that I’m glad I don’t work outdoors. Like early last April, during a hailstorm (2- and 3-inch stones) that hammered the north DFW area (and smashed up cars near where I work). An un-armored person outdoors in that would probably have been killed.

    Howard wrote on June 7th, 2012
  32. This article has gotten me out of my office and onto my deck in the backyard. Not sure why I don’t spend more time out here.

    I also got myself a laptop screen that doesn’t have glare so that I can use it outside. Wonderful invention!

    Patrick wrote on June 7th, 2012
  33. Well, work gave me a mobile phone and a laptop – no desk phone, no workstation. I do have to be in the office, but god meant us to be mobile and clearly so do my employers…

    Anyway, on the rare occasions we get some good weather in the uk, I have been known to take my work outside between 2-3:30. When working on one of the benches littered around the site, I have felt as fresh as I do first thing in the morning. Proper alert. I swear it’s little more than a fresh breeze and the sky above me, but to Mark’s central point, I’m sure it’s my body’s way of repaying me for being (somewhat) amongst nature.

    I used to be very much a city boy, but in my late 20s now, that has flipped on its head. I feel a certain disappointment when I’m out in the parkland near work at lunch and buildings loom back into view…

    James wrote on June 7th, 2012
  34. I work in an almost windowless office, and am lucky if I get a glipse of sun while I’m in there. Fortunately, we live in a decent climate (Souteastern NC) and have an outdoor gym within walking distance to our building. If it wasn’t for that hour or two at lunch we can go grab a quick workout, I’d feel like a mole-person. It also helps me get my daily does of vitamin D and not feel like a total slug at quitting itme.

    Mike wrote on June 7th, 2012
  35. I totally connect with this article. The one thing I truly do love about my job is how we have giant floor to ceiling windows and can actually see the outdoors and at home, I always try to set up my desk and workstations as close to windows as possible. That said, I’m sure it’d be better to be outside for real!

    Michael wrote on June 7th, 2012
  36. Mark–

    As a Christian I don’t believe in millions of years of evolution– but you and I can agree on one thing. God placed man and woman in a garden– around trees and plants and fruit and they were naked! Not too far from the ideas you espouse of hiking, taking forest baths, and commiserating with animals!
    He didn’t create us for sitting down in a cave and thumbing a playstation, and in a perfect world your primal eating would be universal and we’d all be healthy as God intended.

    Pastor Dave wrote on June 7th, 2012
  37. Sadly, here in Missouri it was announced that several of our state parks will have free wi-fi due to popular demand. I am about as connected (and addicted) to connectivity as you can get but value not even being able to connect in some places.

    Dustin Bopp wrote on June 7th, 2012
    • Also from Missouri and I feel the same way. Unfortunately its a simple matter of supply and demand. I few years ago I spent a week down on the Buffallo River in Arkansas. I checked and every place we camped along the river we had cell service. I know there are still some places out west where that is not the case but its getting less and less everyday. Outside magazine had an article awhile back about the 3g service on Mt Everest….sheesh

      CMHFFEMT wrote on June 7th, 2012
  38. It’s a nice idea, but so many millions of people are compressed into cities which simply do not have green spaces. I mean, NO green spaces – not even gardens.

    Terraces, high rise flats … what green space there might be is covered in glass, used condoms and drug needles.

    Sadly, green space is fast becoming the prerogative of those who have money. These are people without cars, too, let alone the money to fill a car with petrol and drive out anywhere.

    It is a bleak picture for millions of people. “They paved paradise …” …

    Still, a nice idea.

    Paul Halliday wrote on June 7th, 2012
  39. How timely! I was just thinking of taking my laptop outside to work today – it’s gorgeous out.

    LM wrote on June 7th, 2012
  40. A couple weeks ago I went for a multi-day hike. I pitched my tent next to a tiny stream in the desert. The stream was mostly just muddy rocks and a few tiny clear puddles. I was awakened in the night by the sound of trickling water. Later I was awakened again and I swore it sounded like a babbling brook. In the morning I went to the creek and it was full and flowing! I have hiked thousands of miles and have never witnessed this before. One thing that gets lost in our domesticated lives is that childlike sense of wonder. I was filled with wonder over the beauty of this creek and I lingered over my breakfast that morning watching amazingly beautiful birds enjoy this magical creek with me.

    Diane wrote on June 7th, 2012

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