By Sommer Hunke
After my morning workout, I headed to the patio to write this column. The magical combination of birds chirping, the mesmerizing hum of I-94 traffic, a squirrel scurrying to get away from my dogs, the visual treat of luscious green everywhere, the smell of lilacs in bloom, and the welcomed interruption of my husband bringing me a mug of steaming coffee, I mean, really, how does a morning outdoors get much better?
Being outdoors has always been much more than the sum of activities like kayaking, biking, hiking, paddle boarding, snowshoeing, and, most recently, I am teaching myself to longboard. I seek out time in nature to reset my soul. Mental clarity nearly always joins me on the adventure, especially when pairing it with movement. Sometimes I meet new people with similar interests, and sometimes I bump into a friend I haven’t seen since he retired at least five years ago. I was biking, and he was walking. We talked fast to catch up with what’s new for about 10 minutes and then resumed our activities. I smiled all day as I replayed our conversation. Had I skipped my bike ride because I was “too busy,” I would have missed the opportunity to move my body like it needs every day, and I wouldn’t have crossed paths with a dear friend.
As I get older, I have somehow gotten more adventurous in my love of nature, and search for new things to try. I credit the crazy, fun-loving, and unwaveringly supportive group of women in my tribe, and the husband who always encourages me to say YES. Carving out time for girls trips to mountain biking clinics in Sedona, yurt adventures at Cross Ranch, yoga in the park, and snowshoeing in fresh powder before work aren’t just fun, they are necessary. If you asked me 15 years ago if I would YouTube how to longboard, I wouldn’t even know what that meant. Now, you can find me carving along the river or making a loop around the zoo while some moms on kid patrol wave at me while yelling across the sandy play area, “It’s so cool you’re out here doing that!” You guys, I almost didn’t get out of my car that day because I was feeling nervous and out of place as a group of teenagers flew by on their longboards. My advice, get out there, do stuff that makes you nervous, and have fun!
Sommer Hunke is a certified health and life coach at 180 Health Solutions in Mandan, North Dakota. She loves all things health and believes health is more than just the food you eat and how you move your body — it’s about creating experiences that fulfill us every day.