I am very excited to introduce to you all an awesome and inspiring community of women called Ladies Get Outside or LGO. I stumbled upon their instagram page a couple of months ago and found their posts/messages incredibly positive and uplifting. These ladies are all about, you guessed it, getting outside to stay active and healthy, but also to find peace and mental well-being. Starting today and for the next month or so, we will be hearing from a different LGO ambassador each week to learn about their perspective on health and well-being, sustainable living, and finding work-adventure balance in life. They will also share some pro-tips about safety as a female outdoor adventurer and more!
Tell us a little bit about how LGO got started and the mission behind the organization/community.
LGO is an organization dedicated to inspiring, supporting, and developing the role of women in the outdoors- be it a competitive, therapeutic, or recreational venue- women are largely underrepresented in the outdoor lifestyle scene, and LGO draws attention to the badass things women are accomplishing, as well as promoting a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle and habits.
How does spending time outdoors contribute to your overall sense of well-being?
Fresh air and a body in motion are crucial to my equilibrium; if I am feeling overwhelmed by any emotion, a little outside time gets me grounded and rational again. Plus, I am in great physical shape from all the adventuring I have done! My long runs used to be 6 miles, but now they are over 20. As my runs have grown longer, so has my sense of peace with myself. Self-love isn’t ever easy, but exploring in a wild setting aids me on my journey to acceptance and gratitude.
How does spending time in nature influence your perspective on taking care of the environment and living sustainably?
Whenever I am traveling on a trail or river, I gather any trash I find, and dispose of it. Seeing raw, untouched wilderness inspires me to not only do my part to maintain pristine landscapes, but also to remind my community of the importance of preservation. Additionally, I appreciate the rarity of crisp, clean air. I keep these circumstances at the forefront of my mind and lifestyle every day, in hopes that many future generations might have the chance to enjoy our beautiful spaces as well!
What are your favorite healthy snacks and/or meals to take with you on your adventures?
I have a fair amount of food allergies, so I primarily make “energy bites” with my food processor. One of my go-to recipes is: 1 banana, 2 T. almond butter, 1 t. honey, 1t. chia seeds, 1 T. chocolate chips, ½ C. oatmeal. Simply mix in a food processor, form into bite-sized balls, and chill in the fridge for 30 min. to harden. If I don’t have time to prepare a snack, I’ll carry mixed nuts, berries, or hard-boiled eggs. Rx bars are also fantastic- they are made with whole foods, and have only a few ingredients! The chocolate coconut is my favorite flavor. On race day, I use electrolyte capsules, CLIF brand gummies, and Gluten-Free honey stingers.
What are your top safety tips for being a female outdoor adventurer?
Don’t wear headphones or listen to music if travelling in the backcountry! I am shocked by how many hikers I startle when I run past them- I always wonder, “What if I had been a mountain lion!?” Not only are you more unaware of your surroundings, and therefore more vulnerable to wildlife encounters, but you also might miss a mountain biker, equestrian, or fellow foot-traveler and end up having a collision with them. Plus, not everyone wants to rock out to your playlist when they take to the trails. Enjoy some nature sounds!
Educate yourself on the trail access before you take off; if it’s a shared-used trail, be conscientious of the regulations in place.
If heading out alone, make sure you let someone know where you’re going, and what time you expect to be home. That way if you’re overdue, a search party can be notified within a reasonable time.
Check weather reports, and always carry extra layers, a headlight, matches, and food/water.
What is the #1 thing you can’t go without when you’re on the trail?
My border collie, Tiny! And my Smith sunglasses.
What advice can you give to those of us who are trying to balance school or work with a desire to experience adventure?
Know that not every adventure is grandiose, and no matter how small, they’re all worth doing. A ten-minute walk beats the heck out of nothing, and your mind and body benefit from every little bit of care you give it! Give yourself grace in the hectic times, but don’t put limits on yourself either; you can truly do anything! Even if you’re a beginner or not in great shape, no goal is too grand; no dream is too great!
Check out LGO's website here and follow them on instagram @ladiesgetoutside
Follow Meesh Sundypoo @meeshsundypoo