Canada has started doing something incredible: prescribing National Park passes!
According to the Washington Post Article, studies show that time in nature has a “range of benefits, from lower stress hormones and heart rate variability to higher self esteem among children. One found that nature or pleasant urban settings helped amplify the effects of exercise alone.”
I felt such validation when I learned about the program because getting outside, hiking, exercising has as much of an impact when it comes to treating anxiety as medication for me. I’ve talked about the benefits I’ve experienced when it comes to hiking and my mental health and I couldn’t be more excited to see the medical field get on board.
Sometimes I feel like I have to defend how I treat my anxiety because it’s not always “medication.” For me the biggest things I do every day to make my anxiety managable include working out consistantly and getting outside in the mountains as much as possible. Sometimes when my anxiety starts to creep up I’ll look at the last time I was in the mountains and won’t be surprised that it’s been a while. There are also things like sleep, meditating, eating well, reading and spending time with friends that sound like a good idea for a healthy lifestyle, but for me if I start slacking in any one of those areas I start to see the negative impacts pretty quickly.
Mental health & hiking is something I talked about on the Podcast, Behind the Sweat, this week with my friend Alex Weissner. Podcasting is still pretty new for me so it was fun to just sit down with a friend and talk about a subject we’re both so passionate about. We also talked dating: hiking a first date? (An absolute no for me) and the time I completely fell in front a date on a hike.