Over the past year, many of us have found solace in the great outdoors as a way to escape stress, get some fresh air and exercise, and safely socialize. Maybe it’s our natural affinity to nature. Maybe it’s simply the opportunity to unplug from technology and reset mentally. You can’t explain it but, when you’re outdoors, it just feels good.
If spending time outdoors has become your habit by now, that’s great. If not, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider the benefits of nature on a regular basis, and ways to make the most of your time in Zion.
Benefits of being outdoors*
Escaping to the great outdoors has benefits for the body, mind and spirit. Studies report improved mood and feelings of revitalization immediately following exercising in nature, and participants said they felt more inclined to repeat the activity again.
Indeed, many experts agree that the benefits of nature is good for our bodies and minds. Nature can:
Improve mood—Sunshine can increase serotonin production, which helps you feel calmer and better.
Reduce stress—Nature has a calming effect on the mind and body, induces feelings of relaxation and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.
Boost the immune system—Time spent in the sun increases vitamin D production, which in turn benefits the immune system.
How to connect with nature
What sounds better: an hour in a stuffy gym or an hour on the trails? While physical activity is known to release feel-good endorphins, that elevated feeling can be even more enhanced by spending time outside and enjoying outdoor vacations. A burst of fresh air, combined with sunlight and beautiful scenery, can be a great source of inspiration when it’s time to get off the couch. Some of us are just naturally drawn to wide-open spaces, mountains, cliffs and canyons. Going for a long hike, exploring Zion’s slot canyons, spending a night camping under the stars, blazing a trail on horseback and other backcountry adventures are just in our blood.
For those whom nature doesn’t come so naturally, there are still ways to bring the benefits of being outside into your life. Hiking and biking are a great way to take in new scenery, explore, and go at your own pace—but also consider lower-level adventures and activities like jumping on a bungee trampoline, swimming, a round of mini-golf, or playing paintball can release stress-busting endorphins. Planning a low-stress, outdoor vacation with inspiring scenery may be just what you need.
Year-round adventure in Zion
Luckily, if you’re headed to Zion, there’s a pretty good chance Mother Nature will smile on you when you get here, as Southern Utah generally sees around 300 days of sunshine each year. That means plenty of opportunities for hiking, canyoneering, Jeep adventures, swimming, glamping and other family-friendly fun. Zion Ponderosa is surrounded by expansive nature, awe-inspiring views, secret slot canyons and wide-open spaces, all just waiting to be explored.
Guided East Zion Adventures
Whether you’re ready to start out with just a light stroll along Riverside Walk in Zion National Park, make a trek across Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort to Observation Point, or join a full-day canyoneering adventure, our on-property guide company East Zion Adventures can get you started down the right path. Just stop by our recreation center and ask for advice on the best hike for your skill level or to sign up for an adventure. Don’t want to trailblaze with your own foot power? Consider a sunset Jeep adventure or a rugged UTV ride to a slot canyon. No matter how you choose to explore southern Utah’s great outdoors, it goes a long way toward keeping our bodies, minds and spirits strong and healthy.
*Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to consult with your physician. The information on this page is for informational purposes only, and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including images and text is for general information purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice.