The recent rain that has been falling in January across multiple areas of California is a refreshing feeling of change. The sound of water droplets crashing onto concrete sidewalks, the smell of the air after a long, pouring shower, the feeling that everything bad in the world has been washed away and everything is new and shiny again. For me, rain is one of the few events that can make an unbearably tiring week a little better.
When it rained in Koreatown, California, not too long ago, I ambitiously went for a walk outside, wearing my boots and carrying my umbrella, even though I ditched the latter after a couple of minutes of walking. Especially after being holed up in my room for so long, waking up to see and do the same things everyday, I was mentally tired. Perhaps, this was why I eagerly finished my Spanish homework, shoved on my boots, and ran outside in the rain on a Saturday afternoon.
After my walk, one word summed up my experience: cold. I realize now that I should have gone out a little earlier since the coming dusk made the walk (very) cold. And, I guess my wet hoodie and damp hair from the rain didn’t help. Nonetheless, the experience was exhilarating. Walking in the rain while chatting with friends over the phone was just what I needed. It was rejuvenating, feeling the rain washing away all my anxiety, leaving me a whole new person.
There are also scientifically proven benefits to walking in the rain. Many pedestrians run for cover when it rains, only leaving the bravest citizens who continue to stroll through the storm. But, for those that live in densely populated areas whose streets are always crowded with active walkers, going out in the rain may be a much quieter, peaceful, and preferable time to exercise. Additionally, an MIT study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics has proven that the air is much cleaner during and after rainfall. As Californians, clean air is like gold, which only makes me wish it would rain again so I can take invigorating breaths of rainy air once more. Along with purer air, the rain also has a smell that has a calming effect. The smell is called petrichor, and is a mixture of chemicals released by soil-dwelling bacteria and oils from plants during dry spells.
There are a plethora of benefits to walking in the rain. Some include the humidity that leaves your skin supple and fresh and even the fact that one burns more calories exercising in rainy weather than one does in moderate weather! But aside from scientific benefits, I can safely assure that walking in the rain is something that everyone should do once in a while. Especially during the ongoing pandemic that makes days mold into the next and weeks seem like one big blur, we all need some change in our lives. Once in a while, we need to do something rebellious, like taking a stroll through the rain. Just make sure to wear thick enough clothing so you don’t get soaked to the bone. Unless you want to, like me.