It teaches appreciation
Being out and about can be physically challenging, so you need to appreciate the good things when you have them. A slight decline after an hour and a half of steep scrambling feels like a gift from the hiking gods, and even a severely smushed Cliff bar in your least favourite flavor (Apricot) is a real treat when you’re starving. Enough so that you decide that you can convince yourself that this isn’t the worst things that’s ever happened to you, and trick yourself into thinking it’s kind of fun.
It makes us value experiences over things
10 years from now are you going to remember your kickin’ Beats by Dre headphones, or the way the mountains looked with the sunrise creeping up behind them? Will think about that sweet spoiler you paid to put on the back of your just-okay car, or the pride you felt when you didn’t wimp on on summiting while more than a little hungover? Nature is awesome, and being in it makes us recognize that some of the best things in life are free (assuming you already own a decent harness/pair of boots/ etc.).
It makes us more accepting of what life throws at us
Let’s face it, things don’t always go as planned, and this is truer than ever when you find yourself in the great outdoors. Setbacks are the name of the game, and the sooner you accept it, the happier you will on the mountain and in your day to life life. It’s going to rain. You’re going to slide down a rock face and rip your brand new tights up the crotch. You’re going to find yourself without a paddle up sh*t creek. You will also likely survive to tell the story, and when you do, you’re going to realize that things weren’t all that bad. So much so that you’re going to do it all again next weekend.
You need some sun
Getting some Vitamin D is going to make you happier, and also prettier. Who doesn’t want that? Time to scrape the Cheeto dust from your ironic band t-shirt, and climb out of your mom’s basement and into the light.
Your mental health will thank you
Feel like doing something crazy? There’s just no energy for crazy after an an 18km hike or 5 hours of climbing, just naps and maybe a well deserved beer or snack. All work and no outdoorsy time makes Jack a dull boy, which is why you should let him borrow your hiking boots for a few hours.
You’ll sleep better
Being outside and exposed to sunlight helps reset your all-important circadian rhythms, which means you’re going to sleep like a giant adult-faced baby once you hit the hay tonight. Getting more sleep is going to make you into a kinder, more patient individual, and people will probably invite you to more parties.
It makes you understand the need to preserve the environment
Cairns are pretty unintrusive, and they still bother me. Let’s not even get into what it’s like seeing garbage in a forest, but I imagine it’s what leaving trashy magazines in church is like. Sacrilegious. Getting out there is going to drive home the importance of keeping nature crap-free.