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Benefits of Hiking: Health and Intelligence?
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2010

There are numerous benefits from going on a hike, and there are also benefits "leading" Sierra Club outings!

Take a Hike - It Might Make You Smarter!

Research Report: The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature

Marc G. Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan, University of Michigan

Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost. Such a therapy has been known to philosophers, writers, and laypeople alike: interacting with nature. Many have suspected that nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being, and these effects have recently been documented.

ABSTRACT—We compare the restorative effects on cognitive functioning of interactions with natural versus urban environments. Attention restoration theory (ART) provides an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature, which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish. Unlike natural environments, urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention (e.g., to avoid being hit by a car), making them less restorative. We present two experiments that show that walking in nature or viewing pictures of nature can improve directedattention abilities as measured with a backwards digit-span task and the Attention Network Task, thus validating attention restoration theory.

Complete article is in Psychological Science at  http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jjonides/pdf/2008_2.pdf


Become a Hike Leader

by Lynn Bomberger

Walking is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise that we can do for our health. It’s one of the least expensive outdoor recreation activities, has a low rate of injury and can be done year round!

When we walk for exercise, we can lose weight, increase cardiovascular capacity, improve balance, save our joints (versus running), manage stress, prevent osteoporosis, decrease cholesterol, and on and on. So, what more can we ask for?

Well, we can add two more items to the list. One is to view, admire and learn about nature, and the other is to meet a variety of active people.

We are very lucky to have hundreds of miles of beautiful trails nearby where there are group outings on the weekends.

The hikes can range from 2-3 mile walks to a 23-mile marathon hike. Most hikes are somewhere in between.

While it is great to get out and hike with a group, it can also be enjoyable to lead hikes. Certainly there are some responsibilities, but there are many rewards. At this time, we are seeking additional Sierra Club hike leaders. If you are interested, please contact Dan Soeder at djsoeder@yahoo.com . Or, quiz your favorite Sierra Club hike leader.

Become a hike leader today.

Reprinted with permission from The Ventana,Vol. 48, No. 4, Debbie Bulger, editor, The Ventana, Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club.

 


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