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man with backpack hikingAccording to some recent studies, the increase in urbanization and lack of green spaces has a direct correlation to an increase in mental illness.  Research shows that recreating in nature improves mental health by relieving anxiety and the occurrence of negative thoughts, which can result in a lower risk of depression (“First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)”, 2018).  Natural light increases your serotonin, which is one of your body’s feel-good chemicals, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.  Sunlight also provides us with vitamin D, promoting calcium absorption, reducing inflammation, and increasing immune function.

Physical activity in the outdoors can be exhilarating and offer challenges that give one a real sense of accomplishment, improving self-esteem, as well as encouraging growth.  Being outdoors can even be therapeutic and has helped many who have suffered from severe trauma.

Fortunately, the High Country offers plenty of land dedicated to outdoor recreation.  With mild temperatures in the spring and summer, those from off the mountain have been flocking to this area to escape the heat for decades. The climate provides a comfortable environment for participating in all sorts of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, water sports, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, cycling, climbing, and bouldering.   If you are new to any of these activities, you will usually find the outdoor community is welcoming and more than happy to offer some assistance.  For more information about getting involved or finding the right gear for your new outdoor endeavor, visit http://www.exploreboone.com/outdoors/

Resources

First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). (2018, September 18). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.ncel.net/2018/07/09/first-in-science-outdoor-recreation-improves-mental-health/

By: Michael Darling