Written By: Karlee May, Digital Media Coordinator
Did you know the colour green is the most relaxing colour for the eyes? Did you know hiking builds stronger bones, decreases symptoms of depression, and invigorates the brain?
When was the last time you hit the trails for a hike? If you’re at your desk right now, or reading on your smartphone, close your eyes. Imagine bright green leaves, still blue skies, the faintest breeze brushing past your face, and the smell of the wood and plants fill your nose.
Do you feel better? Relaxed? Did your shoulders loosen up from around your ears?
One of the best prescriptions for stress and other health woes is a walk in the woods. Our brains feel happy when we walk among the trees. Avid hikers report feeling less stressed, less angry, and more energy. A walk at least once a week boosts our brain power and alleviates worries that arise during the week. Hiking improves spatial memory, and also provides many educational experiences along the way, like identifying an interesting tree or spying a pair of bluejays flying from tree to tree.
Regular hikers have lower rates of diabetes, cardiac issues, or bone problems. We use our whole bodies when we hike. Walking up and down trails increases bone density from the resistance of our feet against the ground. Fitness levels and energy levels improve with more time spent outside. If you continue to hike, your body and your brain will be happier and healthier, and feel healthier and happier.
Humans are built to be outside. Nature and humans are not meant to live separately, but we are meant to live together. We are another part of the ecological machine; and, therefore, we need to take time away from our small, technological machines, and indoor exercise machines, and integrate ourselves back into the natural systems.
Conservation Halton and Conservation Ontario challenges you to the: The Healthy Hikes Challenge.
Explore the trails of Conservation Halton whether it is a three hour hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake, around the lake at Kelso, or a walk to see the waterfall at Hilton Falls. Sign up and then challenge yourself to explore the lakes, forests, wetlands, and beaches in Conservation Authorities across Ontario, and you could win a gift card from Mountain Equipment Co-op. In the long run, The habit of hiking will rejuvenate you physically and mentally (involve your family, friends, and coworkers!), and benefit you more than a fabulous gift card could.