By Jill Suttie
I’m a hiker—“born to hike,” as my husband likes to joke. It does my heart and soul good to strap on a pack and head out on a trail, especially when I’m alone and can let my mind wander where it will.
The experience of hiking is unique, research suggests, conveying benefits beyond what you receive from typical exercise. Not only does it oxygenate your heart, it helps keep your mind sharper, your body calmer, your creativity more alive, and your relationships happier. And, if you’re like me and happen to live in a place where nearby woods allow for hiking among trees, all the better: Evidence suggests that being around trees may provide extra benefits, perhaps because of certain organic compounds that trees exude that boost our mood and our overall psychological well-being.
Hiking in nature is so powerful for our health and well-being that some doctors have begun …