Hiking, walking and the outdoors improve your health
Summer is here and the outdoors invite hot sun, cool shade, tall pines and scenic trails. Spending time outdoors and in nature can be very enjoyable and relaxing, but did you know that spending time outdoors can also make you happier and healthier? Here are a few ways in which hiking is a great addition to your weekly routine:
Calm mind and Body
Being in nature provides a feeling of relaxation which reduces anxiety and stress. In fact, just seeing pictures of nature helps reduce stress and brings a sense of calm. In addition, the scent of many plants such as lavender, jasmine, lilac and roses has been proven to calm and relax the mind and body. The smell of fresh pine has even been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.
less depression; More Joy
Doing activities in nature naturally improves mood, decreases depression and anxiety, and promotes feelings of peace. A 2010 Harvard study links nature walks with better mental health and positivity, fewer feelings of depression and stress, and a reduction in anti-depressive and anxiety medications. The study also found that people who exercised outdoors had a lower risk of poor mental health than those who exercised indoors.
Restored Brain Fanointing
Walking and interacting with nature gives your brain a break from daily overstimulation, resulting in a restorative effect. Outside, the brain’s energy can recover and replenish itself, much like recharging a battery. Just doing a relaxed walk or hiking in the mountains can yield amazing results without giving it much thought.
Increased concentration, concentration and Cthe reactivity
A study published by the Wilderness Society found that spending time outdoors increases attention span and creative problem-solving skills by up to 50%. The National Institutes of Health report that people who take “outdoor breaks” throughout the day are more focused and have better ability to concentrate than those who stay indoors for long periods of time. Do you have a difficult task or decision or are you having trouble concentrating? Maybe a short or long hike will lift the fog and bring some clarity.
Stronger muscles; Better Maptitude
Hiking increases endurance and bone density, in addition to strengthening muscles. The core muscles are strengthened, which means lower back pain relief and more stability which increases balance and decreases falls. Numerous studies suggest that walking and gardening can help dementia and stroke patients live a better quality of life by instilling confidence while increasing mobility and dexterity.
Exercisee is Pproductive
An hour of semi-exhausting hiking can burn well over 500 calories. People who run or cycle outdoors exert more energy than those on treadmills or stationary bikes, with less strain on the body. And because most people say they enjoy exercising outdoors more than exercising indoors, they engage more regularly and for longer periods of time.
High altitude promotes weight loss
A 2013 International obesity review One study found that Americans who live at sea level are four to five times more likely to be obese than those who live in higher elevation communities, like Flagstaff. Add in a few hikes and walks and you have a great weight loss combination.
Stronger immune Ssystem
Getting enough vitamin D, which comes naturally from the sun, is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. And breathing fresh air, especially when you exercise, helps stimulate the body to produce disease-fighting white blood cells and prevent disease.
Lower blood Pto reassure
According to the American Heart Association, recording cardio workouts as a hike can lower blood pressure by four to 10 points and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke for those at high risk. .
Want to sleep when it’s dark? Go out when it’s daylight. Sleep patterns that are regulated by the body’s internal clock, called circadian rhythms, are naturally linked to the sun’s schedule. Spending too much time indoors away from natural light can alter our circadian rhythms, leading to poor sleep habits.
So press the Trails
Spending time outdoors, whether you are hiking, walking, biking, gardening, or golfing, is good for you because it increases happiness, health, and feelings of well-being. And living in northern Arizona makes enjoying nature easy – you just have to get out.
The NACA Spring Into Summer Hiking Series is provided through the Special Diabetes Project for Indians – Direct Community Grant, which aims to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in American Indians / the natives of Alaska. The series is open to the community of Flagstaff and surrounding areas. Monthly hikes range from 1.5 miles to five miles at popular Flagstaff hiking spots. For more information on the series or other health and wellness activities, call the NACA Family Health & Wellness Center at 928-773-1245. NBF
By Sheena Tallis
Sheena Tallis is the Health Promotion Program Manager at NACA, Inc.–for-profit organization takes a holistic and integrated approach to caring for the whole person. NACA offers integrated care for all people of all cultural backgrounds, including behavioral health services, lifestyle change classes, and a low-cost fitness center, all in one location. To learn more about all of the services and programs offered by NACA, visit NACAInc.org or call928-773-1245. Stay up to date on new health services, events and topics by following NACA on Facebook.