Hiking for Health

Physical activity does not necessarily require going to the gym.  Why spend time exercising indoors when you have the glorious wilderness to explore?! Hiking is a great workout—for the body and the mind. Even a couple miles is a great cardiovascular workout, especially if you’re carrying extra weight like a backpack with water or snacks. The serenity of nature allows your mind to be at ease as you trek the trail. The combination of aerobic activity and meditation provides a unique experience, unparalleled by other forms of physical activity. And don’t discount the added benefit of Vitamin D that comes from the sun! Just remember to use sunscreen before heading outside.

I had the opportunity to spend last week’s Spring Break backpacking through Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon with UNH Outdoor Adventures. Our group of ten left snowy New Hampshire on Friday the 8th and came back on the 17th.  We spent three days in Zion National Park before heading to the Grand Canyon, where we trekked all the way to the bottom and back for another three days. Each night we slept under the blanket of stars, witnessing the vast sky of the southwest displaying the most stars I’d ever seen. I don’t think a single night passed that we didn’t see a shooting star. Each day brought a new adventure to experience—our trek on the first day down the Grand Canyon turned out to be the most difficult trail on the South Rim! With encouragement from each other and self-motivation, we made it through. I honestly could not have asked for a better Spring Break. Spending the week outside was exactly what I needed: a breath (or two) of fresh air, a chance to challenge my body, and the opportunity to pause my life and strengthen my health. It’s important to recognize the power of physical activity and tend to your body’s needs. In our beautiful state of New Hampshire, there are many opportunities for hiking.

Campus Rec’s Outdoor Adventures leads hikes and outdoor activities throughout the semester. Check out the trip schedule here and spice up your physical activity routine!