With the snow on its way out and the warmer weather trickling in, it is now the time to dust off our hiking boots and get outside. Being outside has always been an important part of my life and after seeing hundreds of campers come back from backpacking trips physically and emotionally stronger, I thought I would write about a few of the many benefits of being outside!

It’s relaxing!!
There is this instant feeling of calm when taking a step in to the woods.  The sound of the creek next to you or the wind blowing through the leaves of the towering trees puts a person at ease and allows one to be present in the moment and not to worry about the stresses going on in life. The stresses of school are continuing to increase and giving a student the chance to decompress is important. Studies show taking a hike can help stop negative and obsessive thoughts and help our brain focus.
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/04/08/doctors-explain-how-hiking-actually-changes-our-brains/

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It’s good for your physical health!
Whether it is a gentle stroll in the woods or strenuous hike to the top of the mountain, your body is moving. It’s a great, stress free, way of exercising and if its enjoyable, you tend to do it more often. It has been said that hiking helps lower blood pressure, boost immune system and builds a stronger heart.

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It builds confidence!
There are so many opportunities to challenge yourself while going for a hike. From going on a hike on your own, to hiking 10 miles in a day, or hiking to the top of a mountain, we are all challenged differently. The important part is that we continue to attempt to step outside of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. We see it all the time with our campers during their summers at Frost Valley.  They come back from a hike and are so excited to share what they just did. You can even see the difference; they are standing taller and walking with a more confident step forward.

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Camp is a great place to get outside and into the woods. Hiking is involved in all of our Summer Camp programs at Frost Valley YMCA but there is a focus of being in the woods in our Adventure program. I hope this inspires you to get outside this spring!

About the Author

Zach eigenbrodt

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Zach couldn't keep himself out of the woods when growing up. He started working at a Northern Wisconsin YMCA Camp as a wilderness trip leader while in college and fell in love with getting kids into nature. The smiles on kids faces after returning from a once in a life time wilderness experience is why he is here today. Zach brought his talents to Frost Valley YMCA, in 2014, when he started as the Trips Coordinator and soon was promoted to Adventure Director. Zach loves all forms of Wilderness exploration, though some would say his heart lies most with canoeing.

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