How Technology Can Help You Tune Back Into Nature

The summer months have an uncanny way of making us realize how much time we don’t spend outdoors. The days are longer and the grass is greener, yet we’re still chained to our desks (despite how much we’d rather be soaking up rays of natural sunlight in lieu of fluorescent bulbs).

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By now, we all know how much better off we would be if we did spend more time among the elements. Living near nature — and taking advantage of it — helps us stay physically fit, improves our mood, boosts our brainpower and keeps our sense of wonder alive. Last year, British mental health experts confirmed that getting back to nature through walking and gardening can be more effective in combating symptoms of stress and depression than medication.

Yet, we seem to be spending less and less time outside — children, particularly. It only takes five minutes of outdoor play each day to help with a child’s physical and mental development. But growing numbers of young ones don’t even log that little amount of time. “More kids today are interested in the natural world than ever before… but far fewer are experiencing it directly, on their own or with their friends, and that’s what counts: this is about more than nature,” naturalist, broadcaster and author Stephen Moss told The Guardian. “Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.”

Richard Louv, the founder of the “nature deficit disorder” principle, put it best when he said, “The future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the trans-formative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

But while technology can get in the way of our ability to experience nature, it can also enhance it. There are many ways that modern-day advances not only connect us with the natural environment, but also create a more immersive and fulfilling experience in in the environment. Ready to reconnect with nature? Here are three ways technology can help take your outdoor experience to the next level.

Defy human limits.

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Let’s face it — man could not enjoy the experience of flight without the help of technology. From hang gliding to skydiving, the “smart” equipment is just as important — if not more so — than the person using it. Think about the technology and design that went into developing hang glider wings, for instance. The wings are actually a nylon fabric parachute modified into a triangular airfoil, and their design was inspired by research completed by NASA engineer Francis Rogallo in the 1960s. The “delta wing” parachute is lightweight, durable, easily maneuvered by human hands and the reason the sport of hang gliding exists at all.

While extreme sports certainly carry risks, they can also provide a sense of transcendence, personal identity and motivation. There’s something to be said about being able to see the world from a bird’s eye view.

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