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Thank-ing Outside the Box

Posted by Mark Dowd on
Thank-ing Outside the Box

Improving your fitness physically & mentally can get boring- the same routines, being stuck in the gym no sense of the undiscovered. So this Fitness Friday, we invite you to check out 10 reasons to be thankful for adventure because of all the good it does for you.

1) When you get dirty, you improve your physical health

Scientists have recently reported that our modern obsession with cleanliness might be leading to a rise in allergies, asthma & inflammatory bowel disease. Getting dirty could just be the best path to developing a strong immune system. Going on adventures means getting dirty—& healthier.


2) Outdoor activities can prevent (or treat) a wide range of health problems

Doctors around the country are now handing out “park prescriptions” for conditions ranging from heart disease to obesity to attention deficit disorder. Adventure travel takes park prescriptions to the next level.


3) There are no age limits on adventure

Anyone can make nature a playground. Adventure travel is an activity you can stick with for life.


4) Take a hike, get a bigger brain

Research indicates that hiking or walking grows brains. Typically, your hippocampus gets smaller once you hit your mid 50s, leading to memory loss. But a group of middle-aged adults that took three, 40-minute walks a week for a year grew their hippocampi, on average, by 2 percent, which could improve their retention for years. Hiking adventures will keep you mentally sharp.


5) Going on adventures raises your tolerance for uncertainty

Placing yourself in situations where things don’t always go as planned—such as on an adventure trip—helps you learn to cope with the uncertainties in life; & there is no shortage of those.


6) Adventure travel lets you safely “try on” alternate lives

One of the best things about embarking on an adventure is that you can shed your familiar skin for a while and pretend to be anything you want to be—before you take a drastic and permanent step. Who would you be if you lived there?


7) Going on adventures fosters reflectiveness, a mental skill often in short supply today

Adventures give us pleasant memories, which we often bring back to the forefront of our minds for reminiscing. This means that our journeys “marinate” awhile, an especially valuable exercise these days when we’re all so perpetually busy that most of what we do passes by in a flash & is gone forever—without having any real meaning attached to it. But reliving our adventures again & again allows us the time—& capability—to learn something from them.

 
8 ) Adventure travel feeds your dreams & builds your confidence
The editor of National Geographic Traveler Magazine once suggested that the “Cycle of Travel” went like this: 1) dream, 2) plan, 3) go, 4) share. But no matter how many steps it takes to get there, the one thing that’s certain about traveling to spectacular nature spots is that it soon becomes addictive. Experiencing one wilderness just doesn’t seem to be enough; your soul quickly calls for more. & each time you go, you find yourself changing. Adventures build your confidence; & with each successive one, you challenge yourself just a little bit more. I would add a fifth step to the Travel Cycle: dream bigger.

9) Adventure experiences remedy a societal ill: loss of adventurous children & the extinguishing of wanderlust

Today, the United States is facing what some have described as an epidemic: the loss of the adventurous childhood. The Outdoor Foundation reports that youth participation in outside activities has declined for three straight years. & when parents over-schedule kids & insist on being involved in every one of their activities—when they become “helicopter parents”—they kill a child’s desire to explore. The spark for wanderlust goes out, permanently.


10) Adventure travelers may be more important than ever for saving the world

Some scientists warn that in nine years’ time (or less), global warming will become impossible to reverse, triggering accelerated climate change. If they’re right, a group of individuals within the general public is going to have to come forward & upgrade their environmental efforts, if the world is to survive. That select group of people just may turn out to be adventure travelers: those who typically venture beyond the envelope in the outdoors.


As Mark Twain once wrote,

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So here’s to your adventures, in whatever corner of the world you find them, & may they help shake up your fitness routine & inspire you endlessly!

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