“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain, or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir
This year I began my wellness reboot that focused on various areas of health. I vowed to eat healthier, get more sleep, drink more water, stretch my body, and ease up on the acidic beverages. It’s been about six weeks now and I am learning that this is not just a physical health reboot, but also a mental and spiritual one as well. For instance, I really consider the things I ingest before actually consuming them. I’ll ask myself, “do I really need a third cup of coffee?” Yeah, probably not. It might taste good but I should probably make my way over to the water pitcher. This is a new way of thinking for me, guys! Old Joanna would have downed that third cup… maybe four!
Focusing on my wellness has also stirred up an old passion of mine for hiking. When I was young, my sisters and I would have to accompany my parents on day long hikes. Yes, have to. Well, let’s be honest, I despised them. I would pout and drag my feet, slump my shoulders and whine. Oh, I was the worst! I was seven years old and just wanted to be riding my bike or playing on the swings. I had no idea my parents were on to something. Years and years later, after I graduated college, a friend of mine took me on a hike. I was reluctant to go at first, as the only hiking experience I had involved complaining and being told to, “stop fake-crying and catch up!” But I went, and wouldn’t you know it, I loved it. I felt relaxed and peaceful, yet energetic at the same time. Hiking was for me.
Cut to present day: I have recently rediscovered my love for hiking. I spend most of my workouts in the gym on the treadmill, but there is absolutely nothing like hiking or running outside, along a trail. This rediscovery is the perfect addition to my wellness reboot. When I hike, there aren’t any distractions and I can clear my mind. I can focus on one thing at a time, whether it is the natural beauty that surrounds me or everyday life situations. Though I love my gym, I am unable to focus like that on a treadmill. After a hike, my body feels fresh, yet fatigued. My mind is calm, yet buzzing. Breathing fresh air purifies your body and promotes increased oxygen intake. Gregory A. Miller, PhD., president of the American Hiking Society states, “research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety.” Yes, hiking has an incredible set of perks: beautiful scenery and numerous physical and mental benefits. If anyone needs a little wellness boost, I suggest to get outside and go for a hike!
+ Are you an avid hiker? Or are you thinking of giving it a try? I would love to hear about it!
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