Five Reasons to #OptOutside instead of Shop on Black Friday

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Last year at this time was a whirlwind for our family. My wife was a few days from going into labor and I was deep into my 7th year as a middle school basketball coach. It somehow slipped past me that REI (one of my favorite outdoor companies) was closing again on Black Friday. 

This year, however, it did not slip past me. I got an e-mail from REI on October 30, 2017. The title of the e-mail, "Let's #OptOutside Together." On November 6, 2017, I got another e-mail titled, "REI is closing. Again." I'm sure there is another e-mail coming. 

In the first e-mail, the President and CEO, Jerry Strizke, stated, "We believe a life outdoors is a life well lived." I couldn't agree with him more. There are a multitude of benefits from exercising outdoors to even just spending 15 minutes a day outside. There has been lots of research on the benefits of getting outside and experiencing nature. I detailed a lot of this research in my article, "The Benefits of Nature."

Related: #OptOutside

With less than two weeks until Black Friday, I thought there was no better way to prepare than to get you thinking about getting out into nature instead of shopping the day away. Below are five reasons I #optoutside and you should too.

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Reason #1

Avoid these:


and Enjoy views like this:


Who wants to stand in a line, when they could be outside enjoying the views that nature gives us? I really don't think you need anymore reasons than the one above, but if you need more, here are four more.

Reason #2

A lot of us are stuck inside working our nine to fives. We don't always make the time to get outside and enjoy the benefits that nature can provide. According to Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple, studies have shown the following benefits of getting outside:

  • decrease in blood pressure
  • decrease in heart rate
  • increase in anti cancer protein
  • exercising outdoors increases the gains from each workout including:
    • increased energy
    • greater revitalization
    • positive engagement
  • overall reduction in stress
  • increased attention

To add to the benefits, I will highlight a study that was conducted and presented in the book titled "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder." In the study, twenty adults went on vacation to a city and 20 different adults went on a vacation to nature. Before going and after coming back, the adults were given a test.  The results were pretty amazing. The 20 adults who vacationed in cities scored the exact same on both tests, whereas, the vacationers in nature scored higher on the second test than on the first test.

What does that mean for Black Friday or #OptOutside? With shopping, you are stuck in a concrete building (I consider similar to vacationing in a city). With opting outside, you're going outside and taking advantage of the benefits that nature gives (vacationing in nature). Anyone opting outside will arguably have a cognitive advantage over anyone staying inside and shopping.

Reason #3

How many of you Black Friday shoppers actually purchase only gifts on Black Friday? I don't have a lot of research on the topic, but general human behavior would suggest that you are tempted by the sales and purchase unnecessary frivolous stuff for yourself (not only gifts).

Have you ever wondered why businesses have so many sales? It's to tempt the consumer. A consumer believes that they are getting such a good deal that they don't think twice about buying it, because 'it's on sale." We justify our frivolous purchases, because the item was on sale and we got such a good deal.

In the long run, we spend more on stuff when the items are on sale, because we buy more stuff than we would if the items would have been regular price. Therefore, avoid the temptation of the so called sales and get outside! Your mind and pocketbook will thank you!

Reason #4

There's always Cyber Monday. If you really must shop until you drop, shop online and avoid the lines and the stores. 

Reason #5

You can go shopping any day of the week, but you don't always have the time to take a day and drive to a State Park and experience new sites. You can use this day making a lasting family memory or you could waste it buying more stuff.

As for me and my family, we plan on hiking the morning away. What are your plans? Does this make you reconsider your shopping plans?

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