If you are lucky enough to live in or to visit the Aspen Snowmass area, opportunities to spend time in nature are seemingly endless and so are the benefits to your health. Throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, four rushing rivers, thousands of acres of White River National Forest, and the beautiful Elk Mountains offer many ways to play or just “be” in nature. Whether you are hiking through the woods, biking along the Rio Grande Trail, stand-up paddleboarding through the North Star Preserve, casting a line into the Gold Medal waters of the Frying Pan River, or simply lying in the grass and watching the trees sway in the breeze, you will feel all the better for it.

Nature’s restorative qualities are borne out by research indicating that spending time in nature improves health and well-being. Here are some of the benefits of breathing in all that fresh mountain air and immersing ourselves in deep verdant green, golden fall color, and pristine winter snow.
How a Dose of Nature Improves Your Well-Being
How a Dose of Nature Improves Your Well-Being

Nature Improves Your Mood

Being in nature makes us feel alive inside. It reduces anger, anxiety, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Research shows that even viewing scenes of nature has a positive effect. (Just think of those rotating photos of beautiful landscapes as you gaze up from the dentist’s chair).

Nature Soothes

How a Dose of the Rocky Mountains Improves Your Well-Being
How a Dose of the Rocky Mountains Improves Your Well-Being

Environmental psychologists believe that our attraction to nature is genetic and deep-rooted in evolution. The visual aspects of nature can have a soothing effect. Having something pleasant to focus on like wildflowers, mountains and trees helps distract our minds from negative thinking and worry. This could explain why we crave time in nature to clear our minds when stress takes its toll on us. Or, why we prefer booking a hotel room with great views of the mountains or the ocean. Studies have shown that hospital patients with views of nature tolerate pain better, appear to have fewer negative effects, and spend less time in a hospital. Even scenes of nature or the presence of plants in the room have proven positive effects.

Nature Inspires Creativity

Colorado Nature is Good For You
Colorado Nature is Good For You

The sights, sounds, and smells of nature actually help get our creative juices flowing. A 2017 study at the University of Kansas concluded that a team of backpackers were 50 percent more creative after they had spent four days on the trail.

Sheri Gaynor psychotherapist and founder of Creative Awakenings International based in Carbondale, Colorado explains how nature inspires creativity. “In these times the healing power of nature is needed more than ever,” said Gaynor. “The beauty of the wild takes us away from ‘to do,’ and allows us ‘to be.’ The landscape reminds us to stop, to breathe, and to return to our center. In this way, we awaken our inner wisdom, allowing us the capacity to hear ourselves ‘feel,’ accessing higher states of consciousness and bringing forth creative solutions.”
Additional benefits of spending time in nature include improvement in short-term memory, increased levels of Vitamin D, improved sleep, a strengthened immune system, reduced inflammation, and a deeper sense of spirituality. So, grab those hiking boots, walking shoes, biking shoes, waders, paddleboard or picnic blanket and head to the great outdoors. Do it for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

About the Author

Susan Linden IAS
Susan Linden, writer

SUSAN LINDEN

Susan Linden has been wordsmithing as an advertising copywriter, feature writer, and storyteller since her college days. She left the whirlwind corporate world to live in the mountains and spends as much time as she can hiking, biking, and skiing in them. Working, playing, and raising a family in the Roaring Fork Valley for the last 29 years gives Susan a unique insider’s perspective to share.

You Might Also Like