C’mon get outta here, take a hike…No seriously get out today and take a hike. I am fortunate enough to life in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains with the high desert around me and Lake Tahoe a short drive away (if you have not been, find the time to go the lake is stunning). Not everyone is going to live nestled in a slew of national parks and I get that, but there are over 423 national parks spanning over 84 million acres of the United States. Even on a Globally, the world is your oyster, take some time to explore the world around you.
Taking a hike can be incredibly grounding and just puts things in perspective. Growing up if I wasn’t playing sports, I wasn’t worried about the outdoors I wasn’t that kid trapezing through the woods with my friends. I didn’t get that until I got to college and my teammates would drag me with them on some of their adventures in the area. It helped me grow and provided and escape during the summers and was a nice form of active recovery on those few off days.
Beyond that, for the majority of the parks and national forests in my area access was free. As a college student any fun activity that save me a couple bucks was a blessing. With free apps like Gaia and AllTrails to help you get started there are so many avenues to get out into nature, that I never would’ve known about. As I transitioned out of my sport, I found the need for new hobbies and new outlets and I found it in hiking. I was doing some reading the other day and came across this article by the NCBI talking about the health benefits of hiking. For some of us the journey to physical perfection stopped when we were done with our sport, but this is an easy way to continue moving forward.
“Exposure to nature increases human health and well-being include the following: contact with natural elements (eg, daylight, fresh air); participation in physical activity; restoration of mental and emotional health; and time with social contacts. These pathways are often intertwined and may work synergistically across the life span.”
Even in the incredibly bizarre year we have had with COVID-19, Hiking is an easy way to get out of the house and exercise all while staying socially distanced from others. For many, the last year inside has been very trying both mentally and physically. I found escape in the outdoors while able to stay distanced from others I was able to take care of myself both physically and spiritually by finding a way to reconnect with nature. Even if hiking isn’t necessarily your speed, try mountain biking or backpacking.
There is a beautiful world to explore and wasting today sitting inside is another day lost. That fresh air is not only good for you but your pets too, our 100lb pit/shepherd mix is normally out on the easier trails with us. It is a nice way to get your pet out of the house and show them a world beyond your home. All I ask is that you take a nature walk at least once this week. Make the time for yourself to get to the outdoors even if it is just your local park. Disconnect from your phone and take in the moment.