Written by Emma
Aahhh, summertime in
Utah. The mountains are green once again, the breeze is warm, and the sun is
shining. What better time to explore the countless outdoor adventures Utah has
to offer than during June - National Great Outdoors Month! It’s no secret that
going on a walk or hike can be beneficial for our physical health. However, it
may be surprising to learn that being surrounded by nature is equally as beneficial
for our mental health.
Easy Exercise – There is research that shows the color green can
actually make exercise feel easier. The study compared cyclists pedaling in
front of green, gray, and red images. The cyclists that were in front of green
showed the least mood disturbances and reported that they felt lower exertion
levels. An additional study showed that people who exercised outside were more
eager to return for a future workout when compared to those that stick to the
the next time you have a hard time finding the motivation to exercise, head to
a green space.
Aging Gracefully – Spending time outside daily may even help people
stay healthy and functioning longer as they age. In a study from the Journal of
Aging Health, participants that spent time outside every day at age 70 had less
complaints about aching bones, sleep problems, and other health-related
problems than those at age 77 that did not spend time outside each day.
Brain Function – One study showed that spending time outdoors can
skills. They compared concentration levels between children with ADHD that
played outside versus those that played inside, both after school and on
weekends. The children that spent time outdoors reported fewer symptoms of ADHD
(i.e. lack of focus). An additional study found that taking a walk outside may
also improve creativity
and influences novelty. There’s even evidence that shows a 20-minute walk
outside can wake you up JUST AS MUCH as one cup of coffee!
Stress Management – Some research suggests that spending time in
nature can reduce stress levels. Even though there isn’t clear evidence as to why it can be beneficial, there is physiological evidence (such as lower
heart rate) that supports spending time outdoors as a stress management
technique. One reason why nature might be such a great stress reliever comes
There are many scents that have been proven to decrease stress and increase
relaxation, like jasmine, lilac, rose, and even fresh pine. The next time you feel stressed, try taking a walk
outside and literally stop to smell the roses!
Where to Hike?
Luckily for us, Utah
has hundreds of parks, hikes and trails to explore. Some of the most popular near
Salt Lake City include:
White Pine Lake
The Brighton Lakes – Mary, Martha, and Catherine
Broads Fork Basin
And there are so many
more! One great way to discover new hiking trails is through the website (and
. This awesome
resource allows you to choose hikes/trails based on difficulty, what activities
it offers (i.e. camping, fishing, horseback riding etc.), and what there is to
see. Always remember to hike safely using these
provided by the American Hiking Society.