Cities Journal
City Life

Enjoying Summer In Your City

1-summer in city-flickr-littleprincessdiaries
Photo credit: littleprincessdiaries / Flickr

Summertime can sometimes be difficult for a city-dweller: while that sunshine and fresh air beckons you outside, the concrete jungle can be unforgiving to the natural urges that come with summer.

But have no fear; there are plenty of ways to get out and get your share of vitamin D. Here are some methods you might not have thought of yet!

Community Gardening

While you may not have a patch of green just outside your front door, chances are there is one nearby!

Community gardening offers you the chance to get your hands dirty, and beautify the world around you while reaping all the benefits of gardening (according to CNN health, gardening can lead to beneficial life factors like relieving stress, contributing to overall better mental health, and providing natural exercise).

The American Community Gardening Association provides all kinds of helpful tips and tricks to get started with community gardening (including a “find a garden” feature which will help you to locate your nearest patch of earth). Don’t let city dwelling stop you from exercising your green thumb; garden with the best of them!

Team Up

If you miss that camaraderie of playing sports, there’s no reason you should have to leave that behind. There are all kinds of adult outdoor sports leagues which will get you up and out, increase your daily amount of exercise, and help you to meet new people to boot.

A 2006 study by Swiss Economist Dr. Michael Lechner even correlates sports-playing with income. Dr. Lechner found that, between 1984 and 2006, sports-playing German adults would receive an annual income boost of 1,200 euros more than their less active colleagues.

This rate of return (essentially 5-10%) on the benefits of active sports is the approximate equivalent of an extra year of education. So get your endorphins going, and find a Frisbee league to satisfy your vitamin D requirements!

The Dogs of War

If you need a little more motivation to get outside, why not volunteer at a local animal shelter to take their pups for a walk? This way, you can reap the benefits of being a fur-parent without having to deal with many of the drawbacks.

According to ABC News, dog ownership can lead to decreased anxiety, and decreased feelings of loneliness. There’s also the obvious benefit of having a tried and true reason to go out for a long walk or jog every day; and who doesn’t like to spend some time with a cute pooch?

Sarah Grace McCandless of Animal Planet notes that dogs make a great ice-breaker; if you want to meet new people, then a dog park or outdoor cafe might be a great place to take your temporary ward so he might wingman you into making a few new friends.

Music of the Spheres

Most major cities will have various organizations which give free outdoor concerts when the weather gets nice; and the price is right to experience something you might not have thought to do before. Even if tickets to the symphony aren’t on your bucket list, you can at least give a listen to a free concert!

USA today finds that music can elevate mood and improve cognitive performance. It can also relieve symptoms of depression and stress, as well as decrease the perception of pain in the human body. What a magical way to spend an evening!

Climb to New Heights

If you’re a daredevil at heart, then why not put that courage to the test? Many cities will play host to at least one zip-line, ropes course, outdoor aerial arts class, or rock climbing wall. Experiencing an adrenaline rush can help your body learn to deal with stress in a new and different way.

Psychology Today finds daredevil situations to be good “training grounds” for everyday stressors; so take a risk (safely)!

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