Our Pets Take Us Outdoors

There are many reasons to be thankful for the pets that have become our best friends today. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many people found comfort in their companion animals as they were quarantined. However, pets have also inspired their owners to go outside more, allowing both owner and pets to enjoy the beauties of nature. According to the article Dog ownership, the natural outdoor environment and health: a cross-sectional study, “dog walking has been identified as a simple way of promoting physical activity”. However, it’s not just dogs, other companion animals have inspired their owners to go out and explore nature more. For instance, in the article, Bird Medicine And Surgery, bird owners can”use their outside time as your excuse to sit down alongside them, and make time to read that magazine or book”(David J). Many owners such as bird owners are encouraged to take their pets outdoors to enjoy the beauties of nature along with their companions while doing a fun hobby such as reading. There are many students who are able to emphasize more on how their companions have encouraged them to enjoy the outdoors more!

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Nature in Person vs Nature on a Device

People always say to look at something outside to help us psychologically relax. Is it nature that provides us with this benefit, or can artificial technology such as VR replicate that same psychological benefit?

If you are a young adult college student, there is a high probability, that at some point during your childhood your parents encouraged you to put down your phone or videogame and do something outside. Research shows that your parents had good reason to do so, as there are many benefits to being outside. Exposure to nature is correlated with improved mental health and overall well-being.  When your parents wanted you to go outside, it was because they felt it would be “healthier”. But what is it about nature that provides us with these benefits? Most of the time people will say that looking at organisms alive outside such as plants is what provides these positive qualities. However, what if you were to instead look at something nature related on your phone or any technological device? What if you were in your living room watching Animal Planet or a nature documentary? Would look at the screen on your device provide you with the same benefits as looking at the leaves on the trees outdoors? This article delves deeper into these questions.

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Personal Story: Terese

Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to go outside or play sports. My friends and family made me view nature and the activities I do outdoors as a form of joy. As I grew older and had more responsibilities part of my life, I started to appreciate nature even more as it became a convenient way to relieve stress. Going outside for a walk or activity has become a part of my daily life which I appreciate.

My top activities include softball, volleyball, working out, and snowboarding!