5 Ways Hiking Can Change Your Life
Dear Future You,
We hope one day that you’ll make it to Colorado. Who knows what the landscape will look like 20 years from now, but at least you’ll have our memories from when we lived and explored the west coast.
Whenever people come up to ask me how Colorado was, I always respond with “best 4 years of my life,” or in S’s case, he responds with “Best 1.5 years of my life.” Colorado truly is a wonderful place - not only because of the scenery and the day hikes, but because of the people and the culture. There’s something about the laid-back nature of the way people perceive life, and to be surrounded by like-minded young professionals trying to hustle and make it in the world - it’s just a great thinktank to be around.
There’s TONS of hikes in Colorado, some several hours away, others only 30 minutes away. There’s a reason why it was called ‘manifest destiny’ back in the day (you didn’t know this was a history lesson, right?)
Here are 5 ways that hiking has changed our lives, and our hope that you may one day experience this as well, and it’s science backed!
Appreciation for nature.
On my way to work one morning, I thought to myself “we live on a planet...how awesome is that?!” I think that thought stems from watching “The Martian” for the 14th time. How amazing is it that we live in this great wide galaxy called the Milky Way.
Gives you a fresh of breath air...err a breath of fresh air.
Hiking can increase your brain power. Ever feel like you’re working and producing, then all of a sudden you feel stuck or writer’s block? Hiking has been proven to increase blood flow to the brain. So if you feel like you just need that spark of creativity or need to get your brain juices flowing, take a stroll (it doesn’t have to be a full on hike into the mountains and up 40,000 feet!)
Boost your creative problem solving.
Ever have a problem that you just can’t find the solution for? Go for a walk!
Studies have shown that hiking can enhance your creative problem solving and your ability to solve seemingly unsolvable situations or dilemmas. The study found that those persons engrossed in hiking excursions were able to boost their problem-solving ability by 50%. Take that walk and see what solutions arise!
Hiking can decrease stress levels and therefore give you a longer life.
The UCSF study looked at length of telomeres (which are caps at the end of chromosomes that that affect cellular aging, so the longer they are, the longer the cells in your body can live), and found that hiking (and general exercise) can preserve telomere length. Science-y stuff aside, exercise makes you feel good, and being outdoors to breathe the fresh, crisp mountain air of Colorado (or anywhere for that matter) can help reduce your stress levels, helping you to ultimately live a longer life.
Hiking can improve ADHD and anxiety symptoms.
Get a kid out in the outdoors where they belong and you’ll find them exploring the world and creating new experiences - definitely a lot better than being in a distracted world of social media, Youtube, and videos all day. Just the mere fact of being outdoors, away from the stimulus of video, can improve brain function and your ability to limit distractions and ruminations.
So enjoy the outdoors when you can. Appreciate nature and Planet Earth - and be grateful that you’re there! Who knows what the future holds for our Earth in the next 10-20 years, and we may not even be able to experience REAL grass or trees anymore with the way synthetic markets are going, but let’s just enjoy what we have now while we can. Mother Nature is an artist, and who can resist this view?