Sunday, February 12, 2017

Take a Hike



Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

Author: Alanna Ketler                                      April 8, 2016

While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better!

Hiking In Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts
Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin.
To conduct this study, researchers compared the reported rumination of participants who hiked through either an urban or a natural environment. They found those who walked for 90 minutes in a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and they also had reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to mental illness. Those who walked through the urban environment, however, did not report decreased rumination.
The researchers noted that increased urbanization closely correlates with increased instances of depression and other mental illness. Taking the time to regularly remove ourselves from urban settings and spend more time in nature can greatly benefit our psychological (and physical) well-being.

Hiking In Nature Is Great Exercise And Therefore Boosts Brainpower
We already know that exercising is fantastic for our overall well-being. Hiking is an excellent way to burn between 400 – 700 calories per hour, depending on your size and the hike difficulty, and it is easier on the joints than other activities like running. It has also been proven that people who exercise outside are more likely to keep at it and stick to their programs, making hiking an excellent choice for those wishing to become more active on a regular basis.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume — the part of the brain associated with spatial and episodic memory — in women over the age of 70. Such exercise not only improves memory loss, but helps prevent it as well. Researchers also found that it can also reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and release endorphins. Many people take medication to solve each and every one of these issues, but the solution to these ills may be a lot simpler than you think!
 
How You Can Begin Hiking?
Luckily, hiking is one of the easiest and least expensive sports to get involved in, and it can have great benefits for the whole family, including grandma! Start out small and test your abilities. Do what works for you — if that means just walking through trails in a park, that’s fine. Any exercise outdoors is better than none. You can easily find maps of trails around your home online, and there are plenty of smartphone apps to map them out, too. I recommend turning off your signal and your phone while hiking though, so you can reap the most benefits of the hike (though it may be wise to at least carry it with you in case of emergency).
Make sure you have some good sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, and a water bottle, and be sure to layer your clothing so you can take things on or off easily as you warm up and cool down. You may want to consider using trekking poles as well, which can increase your speed and take some of the pressure off your knees. Now, can you just do one thing for me?
Go take a hike!
Much Love


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Finishing Out 2016

 Not much has changed in REDBIRDDOG land over the year.  We are all a bit older and maybe a wee bit smarter.  Now that I'm not working 60 hours a week, the dogs and I have been able to enjoy the hills around Walnut Creek much more.  Each season is different.  The beginning of the winter this year has has been a bit wet, so the ground is moist and the grasses are green.
 The dogs are so comfortable in these hills they run and run and run.
 When they are quarter mile away they seem just like a streak of golden moving against the green background.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beyond Hope Resort Idaho Loved Bailey and Chloe

Sam Owen National Park lies 3 miles east of the town of Hope, Idaho.  This was our dry camping spot for the first week of our Northern Idaho adventure. The skies were overcast the first few days and we even got a little overnight rain one night.  Nothing much.
At $22 per day, the park is a top pick for vacationers from the Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alberta.
The shores along Lake Pend Oreille ( pronounced Ponderay) were wonderful during August.  We arrived on a Monday afternoon. Even making reservations two months prior over the internet, we could not stay at the park over the weekend as it was fully booked.
So we moved 1/4 mile for the weekend to Beyond Hope Resort.  This is a nice resort for camping and RVs.  There is electricity and water and WiFi so we felt we were in civilization, but a bit pricey at $50 per night.  Great place and time of year.  Very dog friendly area.
Sunset over Beyond Hope.
Great trails all around the resort and San Owens that were off-leash wonderlands.  A deer, turkey or quail got exercised each hike by two happy Vizslas running happily through the woods..

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Red Bird Dogs at Priest Lake Idaho

August in the very tip of Idaho 2016 was special to our little band.  We enjoyed five glorious days of sunshine, wonderful water, beautiful forests and QUIET. 
The next few posts will be some pictures of our 2,614 round trip to some fantastic spots in Idaho.  Priest Lake is the farthest north lake in the state.  You can see Canada from there.

  I didn't spend much time with a camera but we did miles of hiking and even some canoeing.

 If I died and woke up in Heaven, would I be on Priest Lake in August?  I'd be ok with that.