It's time to get outdoors for the summer.
After a long winter, summer is quickly arriving throughout North America. For the outdoor adventurers among us, that means one thing -- time to get up into the mountains for hiking, biking, camping, fishing and . . . any number of the other activities that take place in the high country.
Getting into the mountains makes us feel good -- free from the stresses of the daily grind, far removed from the traffic and noise of city life. But have you ever stopped to think about why escaping into the mountains is so good for you?
The mountains are addicting, as writers from John Muir to Henry David Thoreau are quick to attest to. Many studies show that spending time in the hills can help with everything from depression to obesity, and living at higher elevations is even better for your metabolism.
How are you experiencing terpenes in the mountains?
There are, of course, a number of reasons -- you’re outside, probably being physically active. You’re refreshing your mind by stepping out of the routine. And, (this should come as no surprise to regular readers of our blog) part of that benefit comes from the terpenes found in the lush plant life of the mountains.
The crisp, clean air up there is also hugely beneficial. Because of the pine trees so prevalent, mountain air is filled with pinene that reduces stress. You’ll also find the sharp, long-lasting scent of lavender emanating from the plant life, making it easier for you to relax and fall asleep.
In a study published in 2012, researchers found that living at a higher altitude can reduce the risk of developing ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and certain types of cancer. Those who lived above 1,500 meters had longer life expectancies than those who lived within 100 meters of sea level.
The benefits can be found in other settings as well
Not all of us can just pack up and move to the mountains, however. For many, getting to the high country takes significant effort and money that may not be there, and time that is already strained. But there’s good news here as well -- visiting a local park or other habitat where plant life thrives, no matter how large or small, can offer some of the same benefits. You’ll still be exposed to trees emitting pinene, plants emitting lavender, and likely a host of other terpenes working their way into your system.
Perhaps you can get out for a walk alongside a nearby creek or enjoy a picnic in the neighborhood park. Even small excursions into nature can help you experience the benefits of terpenes in their environment. Terpenes are found in plants and even some insects, all over the world -- if you’ve been to a forest, you have surrounded yourself with terpenes.
So the next time a friend hits you up about doing an after-work hike or spending a weekend camping in the woods, you’ll have one more reason to say yes. Plus, getting outdoors just feels so right.