Hiking for Health and Happiness

August, and the heat that comes with this month is almost over, which means cooler temperatures are right around the corner. This is a great time of year for outdoor exercise. Hiking provides the perfect blend of exercise and enjoyment. The peacefulness that comes with enjoying nature can also be great for sparking creativity.

Research has shown that spending time in nature increases creativity and problem solving by up to 50%[1]. According to researchers “Our results demonstrate that there is a cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time immersed in a natural setting. We anticipate that this advantage comes from an increase in exposure to natural stimuli that are both emotionally positive and low-arousing; and a corresponding decrease in exposure to attention-demanding technology.”

You don’t have to live near the mountains to enjoy hiking. You can still get a great workout on trails at your city park; stepping over tree roots and balancing over uneven terrain is harder than it sounds! A great website for finding trails nearby is AllTrails.com. For each trail, AllTrails displays the length (miles), duration (minutes), and difficulty (easy, moderate, and hard), so choosing a trail that works for you is a cinch.

Before you hit the trails it’s important that you prepare. Always wear sunscreen and bug spray. Be sure to pack extra water, snacks, and a first aid kit. Then it’s time to get outside and explore some trails!