As more people spend less time outdoors and in front of computers and televisions, the ideas about getting out in the natural world get a little misconstrued. Whether it is people thinking that wild animals are always out to get them or that poison ivy is contagious, there are many common misconceptions about the great outdoors that people need to stop believing. So to set the record straight and get people to start respecting and enjoying all of the beauty nature has to offer, here is the truth behind some common myths!
Why Are People Spending Less Time Outside?
In recent years, there has been a sharp decline in the amount of time people spend outside, which can be for various reasons, including more indoor entertainment like movies and video games and increased online access through smartphones and home internet. A study from 2019 found that adults spend 87% of their waking hours indoors on average, and children spend nearly 75% of their time inside.
While technology has many benefits, it doesn’t make up for the importance of spending time outside. Being in nature has been linked to numerous physical and mental health benefits, from reducing stress levels to fighting depression to lowering blood pressure and improving sleep quality. So if you are looking for a way to improve your well-being, getting outside is one of the best options available!
Misconceptions About The Great Outdoors
With such a staggering number of people spending almost no time outside, it’s no surprise that many misconceptions have developed over time. And without experiencing the outdoors firsthand, these misconceptions have become widely believed. Here are some of the most common myths about nature:
Wild Animals Are Always Out To Get You
People often think of the great outdoors as a dangerous place where wild animals are constantly on the prowl, ready to pounce at any moment. While it’s true that some animals can be aggressive, this is largely a misconception of the natural world and one that holds very little truth. Most wild animals generally go out of their way to avoid human contact. It’s more often that people disturb them in their natural habitat instead of the other way around.
Most people only notice when animals become active and begin to take precautions against them when they threaten their living environment. Considering this, it’s more likely that you will be injured or attacked by a domesticated pet than by any wild animal! So the next time you think about going out into nature, remember that it is far safer than most people realize.
Bugs Will Give You Diseases
Contrary to popular belief, most bugs won’t give you diseases when you are outside. Most of the species you might encounter in the wild are harmless, and their presence simply indicates a healthy ecosystem. Sure, there may be the occasional exceptions, such as mosquito-borne illnesses, but that is typically because those particular bugs have adapted to having humans as a food source.
When it comes down to it, all you need to do is cover up against insects and use common sense when outdoors. Keeping yourself safe and your environment healthy is just a matter of learning how to coexist with your many fascinating cohabitants.
You Need Expensive Gear To Enjoy The Outdoors
It has become increasingly common to think that exploring the great outdoors requires a hefty investment in expensive gear and lavish camping trips. While camping technology has certainly advanced, there are still many wonderful ways to connect with nature without breaking the bank or pushing comfort limits. For example, heading out on a longer hike and limiting yourself to essential items or taking short day hikes in your local area to observe wildlife are great, cost-effective ways to experience the outdoors.
And even when you are ready to invest in more gear, it is essential to remember that quality doesn’t always equal expense. Many affordable options get the job done just as well as their more expensive counterparts. So if you have been holding yourself back from getting outside because of a fear of not having what you need, take a step back and remember that all you truly need is an open mind and a positive attitude.
You Can’t Have Fun Outside Unless You’re In Great Shape
Similarly to the belief that you must buy expensive gear to enjoy the great outdoors, many people think they must be in great shape to take in nature. While it’s true that being in good physical condition can certainly make a trip more enjoyable, this is simply not always the case. There are plenty of ways to get outside and stay active without pushing your body too hard or straining yourself.
For example, simply going for an easy walk in a local park or enjoying nature from your backyard can be just as refreshing and relaxing as any high-intensity physical activity. And as you spend more time outdoors getting to know your natural surroundings, you might even find yourself motivated to push yourself a little bit more!
Swimming In Lakes And Rivers Is Dangerous
Swimming in lakes and rivers is often a risky activity. While this can be true, if you take the necessary precautions, outdoor swimming is no more dangerous than in a pool. It is important to remember that bacteria levels can quickly spike with changes in temperature and contaminants such as fertilizer runoff or rainwater. However, taking simple steps, like checking lake/river conditions before entering the water and abiding by any “no swimming” signs, can instantly make your swimming experience much safer.
Last but not least, always wear a life jacket when boating or fishing on the water, even if you are a strong swimmer. By following these tips and using common sense, you can enjoy all the fun that comes with swimming outdoors without putting yourself at risk.
Poison Ivy Is Contagious
While there are a few different myths about some of the plants people find in nature, one that seems to come up a lot is poison ivy. The most common belief is that you can get poison ivy from touching an object someone with the plant on their skin has touched. In reality, this isn’t the case at all! Poison ivy only spreads through direct contact with an open rash, so it’s not contagious in the traditional sense of the word.
That being said, it is still essential to be cautious in an area where poison ivy may be present. Wearing long sleeves, pants, and gloves can help protect you against exposure, and if you happen to come into contact with a plant that might have been poison ivy, immediately wash the area with soap and water.
Know The Truth Behind These Misconceptions About The Great Outdoors!
In short, there are many common misconceptions about the great outdoors people tend to believe because they either don’t know the truth or haven’t spent enough time outside. Whether it’s the belief that you have to be in great shape to enjoy nature or that swimming in lakes and rivers is dangerous, it’s important to remember that these beliefs often don’t hold true.
So don’t let fear and misunderstanding keep you from enjoying the beauty of nature! By staying informed and taking basic safety precautions, anyone can have fun and get outside without worrying about any of the different myths swirling around!