Walking in Nature & With Dogs

Reader Contribution by Julie Stephens
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My husband and I live with our dogs, Joy and Hope, in the tiny mountain village of Lake City, Colorado. We enjoy living in the midst of nature at 9,000 feet in the most remote area in the US lower 48 states: Hinsdale County, CO. I love experiencing all four seasons! Life is neither easy nor convenient living up here – but we get to live up here!

Those of us who live in the midst of nature (especially when we have lived in noisy suburbia or cities and have dealt with daily bumper to bumper traffic) know that a walk in nature is THE BEST! While there are studies to prove this – all a nature lover has to do is go walk in a favorite setting and breathe in the contentment. 

On every walk, every gaze out the window, I am always happily amazed at the picturesque beauty with which I am surrounded. This is the view from my writing nook.

Walking in the peacefulness of the mountains, the woods, around a lake, on a country path or by a river, is like a soothing balm from noisy congestion and busyness. Solitude is not selfish; but is as necessary to our mental health, as food and water are to our bodies. It is something we must have on a regular basis.

This was taken on our beloved nature trail behind our cabin. It is not uncommon for us to walk our nature trail several times a day, especially when time or weather does not allow for a longer hike up in the mountains. It’s fun to watch the geese when they return in the spring. Pairing for life is common in geese.

“Walking is my main method of relaxation. I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.”   – English actor Kevin Whately

It has been stated that nature absorbs negative energy – not unlike trees taking in carbon dioxide and producing the oxygen we breathe. Perhaps we feel most peaceful in nature because it simply feels good to be connected to the living world without any conditions or requirements expected of us. Walking provides a significant benefit because it helps to relieve stress. Research shows that brisk walking boosts endorphins; the hormones that improve our moods, lower our stress and make us feel calm and cheerful – giving us health and happiness. Walking also gives us more energy. Wow! Walking in nature is so beneficial and so enjoyable.

Our Sheltie Joy

Walking in nature with dogs must be super healthy! It has been said that dogs not only fill our hearts with joy – dogs actually make our hearts stronger. Studies show that having a canine companion helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels, which contribute to better overall heart health. Walking in nature with dogs – so fun and healthy, who could ask for anything more!

Dog owners generally walk a lot more than people who do not own dogs.

Dogs help prevent loneliness and isolation, which is a key in preventing cognitive decline and disease.

Do activities you’re passionate about – activities which make your heart and soul feel perky – including things like writing, hiking, walking, being in nature or reading inspiring books…”  – Karen Salmansohn self-help book author

Psychologists have said that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout when it comes to relieving the symptoms of anxiety. Chronic anxiety and stress can have terrible effects on your physical health and may eventually lead to life-threatening illnesses. LET’S GO WALK!

“Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

For example, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination”

Studies show that spending time in green spaces, around trees, helps to reduce our stress, lower our blood pressure and improve our mood.

Our Border Collie Hope

What kind of dog(s) do you have? What is your favorite place to walk in nature? Do you walk every day?

Julie Stephens lives with her husband Bruce and their dogs, Joy and Hope, in the tiny mountain village of Lake City, CO. They enjoy living in the midst of nature at 9,000 feet in the most remote area in the US lower 48 states: Hinsdale County. Julie spends her unscheduled days: reading, writing and walking the dogs in the mountains, with camera in hand. Julie’s books available on her website. Visit Julie’s blog and Author Amazon page to learn more.

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