Back on track with your kayak Published April 17, 2019 By Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Force Support Squadron Outdoor Recreation Center provides Airmen with the opportunity to network and enhance morale through various outdoor activities. The 20th FSS Outdoor Recreation team organized an eight-mile trip for Airmen to learn the fundamentals of kayaking and have the opportunity to escape the daily stressors of life while bonding with new people they may have otherwise never met. Those who spend time outdoors, with nature, have better mental health because the vitamin D, exercise and concentration allow people to de-stress, according to Dr. Susanne Preston, South University Virginia Beach, Clinical Mental Health Counseling instructor. Preston says fresh air and sunlight have the largest benefits for overall health. “For example, with increased exposure to natural sunlight, incidents of seasonal affective disorder decrease,” said Preston. “When individuals are exposed to natural sunlight, the vitamin D in their skin helps to elevate their moods.” For Airman 1st Class Nicholas Kedar, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft parts store technician, it was his first time kayaking and he said it was a great experience he would encourage all first term Airmen to try. The July 2010 Harvard Health Letter publication published incentives to get time outdoors and in nature: -Vitamin D helps fight osteoporosis, depression and heart attacks. -Natural light elevates moods and leads to people pursuing more active activities due to happiness. -Those with Attention Deficit Disorder have a better time concentrating with the help of sunlight. -Healing faster and requiring less medication is a trend among those who have had surgery and also get outdoors often. “I saw huge smiles on Airmens’ faces as they tried something new for the first time and although some may have come in skeptical they left wanting to come back and with newfound friends,” said Tim Godwin, 20th FSS Outdoor Recreation supervisor programmer. Every weekend the 20th FSS Outdoor Recreation has something going on to help first term Airmen meet new people and have experiences they have otherwise never come across. If not for the Air Force Outdoor Recreation programs Airmen would not have these trips available to get out of their comfort zone and meet people, said Kedar.