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Get Outdoors for Good Health!

November 17, 2015

We spend a lot of time indoors, so much so that it’s almost unfathomable that the average American spends 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and 6% of their time in vehicles. That’s a lot of time inside - almost 93% of all our time! We even exercise indoors now! Exercise is good for our health to be sure, but getting outside provides health benefits that a gym can’t teach you. We’re going into a little more detail about what those are in this post.

The sense of adventure that comes with rafting is the reason many take it up as a hobby. Like all other sports that seem a little reckless and a little crazy, like hiking in the Smoky Mountains, biking, running marathons, or surfing, there are valuable lessons, and useful takeaways that we learn from participating in sports and activities like these. As far as rafting is concerned, what else could fuel your favorite adrenaline-junkie’s habits while simultaneously teaching teamwork and getting the physiological benefits of some-much needed outdoor time?

Science Says…

Spending time outdoors has been proven to boost your mood, and getting out of the house is always a good thing, but did you know spending time in nature can boost your creativity and your mental toughness? Both of those are valuable skills to carry into your career and can be developed by spending a little time outdoors. Studies have shown that low-impact exercise, like walking, can increase boost creativity, but walking outside has been shown to produce the best ideas. If you’re stuck on a problem, lace up your shoes or hiking boots. The problem may be easier than you think!

Mental toughness is resiliency in the face of adversity, and that’s essential for success. It’s also something you can practice regularly with time outdoors. Facing a tricky rapid when rafting or a large hill while hiking is tough, but convincing yourself to get to the top is a powerful thing. One thing in life is also certain: There will be something you fail at. Having the developed creativity and mental toughness will let you find new solutions to the problem, avoid the same mistakes, and keep you from being crushed by that failure. Your mental health will thank you for getting up that giant hill, even if your legs and lungs won’t.

Getting outdoors makes exercising easier. A study from the University of Essex used cyclists to determine if seeing different colors made exercise feel easier. Green, as in grass, trees, and plants, was proven to make the cyclists feel like they were putting forth less effort than if they’d seen red or gray, even if they were using the same amount of exertion. Outdoor exercise can also seem to be easier because it feels less like exercise. Hiking is tough, but unlike logging miles on a treadmill or lifting a certain number of reps, the scenery, challenge of the hike, and the companionship that often comes with hiking makes it feel easier. Those who exercise outdoors are often more excited to return, than those who workout in a gym.

The forest can boost your immunity. Another study, this one from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, compared the presence of natural virus and cancer-fighting white blood cells in men and women after the groups spent time outdoors. Both men and women had elevated levels of these disease-killing white blood cells for up to a week after spending time outdoors. The study also determined that phytoncides, an antimicrobial compound released by plants, were better absorbed when combined with the stress-busting power of the great outdoors.

Even the way the outdoors smells can make us healthier. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress, but certain scents, like lavender, jasmine, lilacs, and especially fresh pine around this time of year, are especially helpful for relaxing us, and lowering depression and anxiety. Go ahead, pick up an extra wreath or garland!

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of the great outdoors while having a great time, book your next outdoor adventure with us!

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