When you get stressed out or overwhelmed, what is one of the first things people tell you to do? People often suggest stepping outside and taking a breath of fresh air. I live in beautiful and adventurous Colorado, and finding a place to get fresh air in Colorado is relatively easy. Surrounded by ponds, lakes, forests, and mountains, there is fresh air everywhere you look. One of the best ways I have taken advantage of this fresh air is through hiking and exploring the nature around me.
Getting outside for some fresh air is so crucial for one's health, both physical and mental. Exploring the outdoors has provided me with an outlet to clear my mind and escape the hassles of everyday life. Many of us get so consumed with day-to-day activities that we tend to avoid noticing ourselves running all over the place half the time. My daily routine consists of going to the gym early in the morning, taking my 7-month-old Siberian Husky for a walk, attending college classes five days a week, and working part-time to handle my expenses. I forget to slow down and make time for myself amid my never-ending schedule. When I do make time for outdoor activities, such as hiking or even exploring the mountains nearby, I find that all of my stresses disappear, and I can give my mind a break that my daily routine lacks.
As I mentioned, physical and mental health is significant, and I have been working to prioritize both in my life for the past three years. One of the ways I do this is through hiking and going outdoors. My mind clears when I am physically working my body, and outside provides me with that exercise and allows me to be one with nature. There are business buildings, grocery stores, banks, restaurants, and even homes in the city. However, I find nothing but quiet in the mountains and myself amidst trees, rocks, flowers, and animals. The quiet allows my mind to slow and quiet down from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing me to focus on my mental health and relieve the stress of everyday life.
Why is taking care of your physical and mental health important? Well, there are several reasons! First, taking care of your physical health allows you to live longer. Still, it can also reduce the likelihood of getting sick or even something as serious as a life-altering medical implication. Ensuring you are healthy and listening to and caring for your body is essential. Your mental health also correlates with your physical health. Sometimes it can be hard to take care of yourself physically if you need to be in the right mindset. For me, always being stressed out makes it harder to take care of myself. An article titled Role of Physical Activity on Mental Health and Well-Being: A Review mentions that physical activity benefits one's mental health. It talks about how studies show that people who engage in regular physical activity have a 'better frame of mind' and better focus, attention, memory, and even decision-making.
The article also talks about how sleep improves physical activity. The studies found that people who engaged in moderate to high levels of exercise improved their sleep quality. This increase in sleep quality also had more noticeable positive effects on those struggling with their mental health: "After 12 weeks of fitness training, one study indicated that both the quantity and quality of sleep in adolescents improved… According to a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, exercise has shown a statistically significant effect on sleep quality in adults with mental illness" (et al. Mahindru, Patil, Agrawal, 2023). These statistics prove the benefits of physical activity, like going for a hike or exploring the outdoors, dramatically improves one's mental health and overall quality of life.
One of the most beautiful elements Colorado offers is the mountains. They spread far and wide throughout the state, providing people with a pretty view and a way to connect with nature. There are several activities to do within the mountains here, many of which involve physical activity and being in nature. The infamous Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most notable places to visit in Colorado for the best outdoor mountain experience. This expansive park has numerous hiking trails, quite a few lakes/ponds/rivers to splash around in (with caution, of course), and even certain rock formations that those daring can climb! The rocky mountain website listed below has much more information on the park!
If you travel a bit farther south, you will run into the beautiful Colorado Springs, a town I am fortunate to call home! Down here, we have Manitou Springs, a small outdoor city with a street full of mom-and-pop shops unique to the area that runs a few miles long! We also have the Manitou incline, a steep staircase that climbs the side of one of the mountains. It is 2,744 steps up the side of the mountain; it's a workout! This little town takes you right into the heart of the mountains that overlook the entirety of Colorado Springs! Pikes Peak, Colorado's most notorious 14er, is just a bit north of Manitou. This mountain is cool because everyone of all ages can scale this mountain! Whether that be bravely hiking it yourself, taking a scenic and twisty drive yourself up the side of the mountain, or purchasing tickets to ride the train that goes right up the side of it! At the top is the Pikes Peak Visitor Center, where you can overlook the cascading mountains behind Pikes Peak and see the state laid out before you on the other side! You can also try their famous donuts! Listed below are the websites for each of these attractions, and each site gives more information about the place and the activities available to do at each!
One of the best things about living in Colorado is that outdoor activities are available year-round! In the springtime, most people begin hiking for the year as the weather is warming up and the flowers and trees are beginning to bloom. During the summer, more outdoor activities such as white water rafting, swimming, and hiking occur. Most people do physical activities early in the morning, making it quite normal to see people up and beginning their day at dawn before it gets too warm!
During the fall, the hiking continues, and people visit the local farms and towns in the mountains for things like pumpkin patches and apple picking from the farms.
When winter comes along, the mountains make an excellent challenge for some hikers and rock climbers, providing the kids with a great and exciting place to go sledding when it snows. The beauty of the mountains in Colorado is that they always offer some form of entertainment for people, and for people like me who love to spend large amounts of time outdoors, this is wonderful! The best part is that hiking takes place throughout the year, and while the trails and locations, and scenery might change, the ability to do doesn't!
As the seasons change, the apparel of those spending so much time outside does too. Inspira has a great collection for all the hiking and outdoor activities someone like me participates in! The Jumpstart Zip-Up is a perfect jacket for those early morning jogs or hikes in the springtime; Barb's Crop Long Sleeve (a personal favorite of mine) is ideal for keeping me warm on my runs in the mornings! Inspira has hats that are perfect for keeping your head warm during the winter, and even Barb's Baseball Cap helps keep your hair back and the sun out of your face when hiking during the summer! Inspira provides excellent products for a multitude of outdoor activities many people here in Colorado take part in! And what's even better is that the selection of clothes is great for all seasons and all body shapes!
Taking care of your mental and physical health is essential for overall well-being. Next time you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or even happy, remind yourself that it is okay to wonder and be creative or give yourself thinking time. Sometimes, it is best to wander and adventure or get outside for a few minutes to give your brain its daily fuel!
I love living in Colorado because I can explore and be active daily in nature and, more often, through hiking. Being outdoors lets me clear my mind and focus better in my daily routine. As the article I talked about explains, engaging in a form of physical activity is vital as it has many benefits. The weather is constantly changing here in Colorado and in many other parts of the country, and people who spend a lot of time outdoors, tend to put thought into their outfits as well, especially to keep warm or cool and equipped for the trails or activities. Inspira has a beautiful range of products that help me feel inspired to get outside and be the best version of myself, and I have no doubt the products will do the same for you. Make sure to set aside some time to take care of yourself, and when you set foot outside to explore the beautiful land around you, consider taking Inspira with you!
Pikes Peak: https://www.pikes-peak.com/attractions/pikes-peak-americas-mountain/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwn_OlBhDhARIsAG2y6zMrZarnE0a7tz1WHaOV6btAQPTD5ZHrgTfvguy2GdQrApJAGClXqbsaAq1QEALw_wcB
Manitou Springs: https://manitousprings.org/
Rocky Mountain National Park: https://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm