Friday morning my brother and I headed up to Buena Vista to go backpacking. In case you're not from Colorado, Buena Vista is due west of Colorado Springs, nestled right at the foot of the Sawatch Range in the Rocky Mountains.
We packed in about eight or nine miles and set up camp in a valley between Harvard and Columbia on the south and Missouri, Oxford, and Belford on the north. (All five of these mountains' peaks are over 14,000 feet.)
While I was hiking, I was thinking of you. Because hiking is healthy. And I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of the health benefits I've observed from hiking and backpacking in the mountains near my home.
Hiking is good exercise. It's not as rigorous as an intense 30-minute workout on a machine, but it's still a great workout. Ultimately, you'll probaby hike for at least one hour on a trip... more like three to four hours. Just one hiking trip can give you more cardiovascular exercise than you typically get in a whole week. That's a lot of calories burned!
Hiking clears your mind. Because you'll be distanced you from the noise pollution that's so common in suburbs and cities, hiking is a great way to clear your mind. Instead of the dull throb of traffic, you'll hear birds chirping, squirrels scrambling up pine trees, water rushing over rocks. There's a lot of silence, too.
Hiking refreshes your lungs. When you're out in the wilderness, you'll enjoy clean smog-free air. It's quite invigorating to breathe deeply of the oxygen-rich stuff.
Hiking revives your spiritual connection. From Emerson to Thoreau, many wise men have extolled the spiritual virtues of time spent in nature. No matter what your personal beliefs, you'll likely find that your spiritual life is revived during your time of hiking in the wilderness.
These are the four health benefits of hiking that came immediately to mind. Maybe there are more. But these should be enough to inspire you to get out there and hike. Happy trails.
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