Getting Outside: Rejuvenate In The Great Outdoors On Long Island

Long Island
With summer officially here, it’s good to know the benefits of getting outside more often. (Getty Images)

With so many beautiful parks, trails and beaches on Long Island to explore and warm weather to enjoy, now is the time to soak in the sun, breathe in fresh air, and allow your mind, body and soul to be revitalized.

Working on your physical fitness? Enhance your workout by “adding resistance of uneven terrain or landscape,” suggests Robert Bentivegna, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and life coach at Robert Bentivegna Life Coaching in Shoreham. “This adds a level of difficultly that you can’t find in a gym.” Exercising outdoors can also enhance overall health and boost your immune system with more vitamin D, he adds. 

There’s nothing like a date with nature to gain clarity and relief from stress, says Bentivegna. “Getting outdoors is crucial for the brain and just an overall mood booster.” It’s also a wonderful way to “reground yourself” or “pray,” he expresses. Bentivegna, who is an avid bowhunter and fisherman, says that he finds yardwork therapeutic and uplifting, especially “when you see your hard work turn into something beautiful.”

Spending time outdoors grants a treasured opportunity to experience a “mini-reset” for your entire being, says Ray Larsen, of Manorville, founder of LIParks.com and Facebook groups, Hiking LI and Long Island Great Outdoors. “Many people just don’t realize that Long Island is still an amazing place to hike with trails that could take as long as 20 minutes to an entire week,” he says: For example, the 125-mile-long Paumanok Path trail stretches from Rocky Point to Montauk Point.

If you’re new to hiking, Larsen suggests beginning with the South Shore trails first, due to a flatter terrain. Avoid getting lost by downloading apps such onX or AllTrails. Be mindful of ticks. Dress appropriately and stay on maintained trails. Most importantly, enjoy. “You can go at any pace you want, fast, slow, medium, it does not matter,“  says Larsen.

Michelle Burget of Northport says she has reveled in outdoor activities since she was a small child. “I grew up out East and caught my fair share of frogs, dug potatoes at local farms, and rode bikes,” she recalls. The principal of South Woods Middle School in Syosset, says her favorite outdoor pastimes include hiking, running, biking, kayaking and paddle boarding, all of which she enjoys solo or with others. “The constant in nature is the nature. The colors, sights, and sounds are inspirational and restorative.”

Burget says that spending quality time outdoors has helped her to gain greater independence, perspective, and a deeper sense of calm. Her zest for adventure is fulfilled by nature. “Maybe it’s the whole idea of the ‘path not taken,’ but I can’t be in the forest without wanting to know what’s around the next turn.”