Friday, November 28, 2014

Take a Hike

Our daughter shot this picture during our family hike yesterday on Thanksgiving Day.  I thought about the first time she was introduced to snow when we surprised my wife's family and showed up on their doorstep a couple of days before Christmas many years ago.  It wasn't long before our children were making snow angels in the backyard.  They didn't care how cold it was.  Neither did I yesterday during our hike.  There is something invigorating about being outside.  I could have made plenty of excuses when our daughter suggested we get up early on Thanksgiving morning and take a family hike.  I'm glad I didn't.  Here's ten reasons why you should take a hike today:
  1. Reduced stress.  When your body releases chemicals during periods of exercise known as endorphins, you feel a sense of relaxation.
  2. Mother Nature.  Many of us experience her slide shows during the warmer seasons, however, she has much to offer those brave souls willing to bundle up and take a hike in the snow.
  3. Reduced television time.  Be honest.  What would you be doing with your time if you weren't hiking?  I'm finally cutting the cable chord when our youngest leaves for boot camp in early January and I'm devoting more time to regular exercise.
  4. Bonding time.  Hike with a friend or family member and get to know them free from all the distractions of electronic devices.  And if you hike alone, use the time to connect with the Creator.
  5. Less aches and pains.  The Holidays can be challenging times.  Hiking produces brain chemicals that work like an analgesic.  This diminishes the perception of pain.
  6. Self-esteem.  The more you exercise, the better you feel.  It shows.  When others ask what your secret is for looking good, tell them to take a hike.
  7. Reduced anxiety.  Spending time with Nature helps to clear the brain.  It's like taking a nap in the middle of the day.  It's chicken soup for the soul.  Anxiety is created in your head.  It's dissolved during your hikes.
  8. Reduced depression.  It's easy to get down during the cold weather months.  When you reduce your exercise routine, you are at risk for depression.  Find a place to take a hike indoors.
  9. Improved sleep.  It's amazing how a little bit of exercise can help you sleep better.
  10. You look fit and healthy.  There are plenty of cars on the road that look great despite their model year and there are some late models that already show signs of aging.  Don't stay parked in the garage.  Get outside and take a hike.  Rev up the engine.
Hiking isn't a once-in-a-while activity just like Thanksgiving Day isn't the only day we give thanks.  I'm thankful every day for my friends, my family and my health.  I'm thankful my kids enjoyed making snow angels the first time they experienced snow and that they still want to go outside and hike even when the temperatures drop into the low teens.  Take a hike today.  And don't ever stop.  It's worth it.

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