April 29, 2024

5 Outdoor Adventures That Top Our Health Coaches’ Lists

photo of Perry Santanachote

Written By

Perry Santanachote

5 Outdoor Adventures That Top Our Health Coaches’ Lists

Spending time in nature has been shown to enhance mental well-being, ranging from a boost in mood and reduced stress levels to improved cognitive function and enhanced creativity. According to Heather Eliassen, ScD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, exposure to green space has been linked to physical improvements, too, as seen in sleep, blood pressure, physical ability, and reduced risks of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. “Evidence is also accumulating that exposure to green space is associated with lower total mortality,” says Eliassen.

The beauty of these benefits lies in their accessibility; you don't need to embark on extreme adventures to enjoy them. Even a brief stroll in a nearby park, a leisurely hike along a river trail, or simply basking in the warmth of sunlight can work wonders for your overall health and vitality. 

With spring officially sprung and days getting longer, we asked our Health Coaches to share their favorite ways to get outdoors for a good dose of nature in their hometowns. Add these spots to your go-to list and get outside, stat!

Outdoor Adventures: Riverside Run Nashville, TN

1. Go for a refreshing riverside run.

The city: Nashville, Tennessee 

The spots: Harpeth River Greenway and Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail

“We have a ton of really amazing greenway trails in Tennessee,” says Lifeforce Health Coach Jillian Thomas Montemarano. “The Harpeth River Greenway and Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail are two of my favorite riverside running routes in the Nashville area.” The nearly six-mile-long Harpeth River Greenway offers scenic views on relatively flat terrain, suitable for runners of all levels, while the slightly longer Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail provides a more varied landscape, with some sections passing through wooded areas. “There is also an amazing state park nearby called Fall Creek Falls, which has a ton of great hiking trails and waterfalls,” says Montemarano.

Outdoor Adventures: Family Affair North Carolina

2. Make it a family affair.

The city: Durham, North Carolina

The spots: Bass Lake Trail and Museum of Life and Science 

Bass Lake Trail is a picturesque two-mile trail for kids and dogs alike. “The well-maintained path around the lake is big enough for my daughter to explore and walk herself,” says Lifeforce Senior Health Coach Kelly Lynch. “For a longer hike with older kids, check out the five-mile Campbell Creek and Lanier Falls Loop Trail and don’t forget to bring snacks!” 

You and your kiddos can find even more outdoor playtime at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. One of the museum’s highlights is its expansive outdoor area, which includes nature trails, outdoor exhibits, and a large play area. “We spend all day there,” says Lynch. “It is mostly outdoors with huge hideaway woods, like a big tree fort the kids climb through.” 

Outdoor Adventures: Hot Hike and Cold Plunge Tucson AZ

3. Take a hot hike and a cold plunge.

The city: Tucson, Arizona

The spots: Romero Pools and Saguaro National Park

The Romero Pools in Catalina State Park near Tucson are a series of natural pools formed by seasonal water flow from the nearby Romero Canyon — a tranquil oasis amidst the desert scenery. The scenic hike to the Romero Pools is via a moderately strenuous three-mile trail that winds through desert landscapes, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Senior Health Coach Patrick Doyle suggests rewarding yourself with a plunge into the crystal-clear water, then relaxing on the rocky shores and soaking in the area’s natural beauty.

If staying dry is more your thing, check out the three-mile Yetman Trail and Peak View Trail in Saguaro National Park. “Go in the late afternoon or early evening for the most spectacular sunsets,” says Doyle. This loop trail leads to a viewpoint offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding area and Rincon Mountains as the setting sun paints the sky with vibrant hues.

Outdoor Adventures: Bird & Wildlife Watching Arlington Texas

4. Watch for wildlife in a city park.

The city: Arlington, Texas

The spot: Clarence Foster Park Loop

Clarence Foster Park in Arlington is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. While walking along the one-mile loop or near the creek, you can spot various bird species, including herons, egrets, and woodpeckers. The park is also home to non-winged wildlife, including turtles, rabbits, squirrels, deer and other small mammals. “You'll find me at this park just about every morning, rain or shine,” says Senior Health Coach Kristen Alexander. “This is where I love to watch the sun come up and say good morning to our neighbors.”

Outdoor Adventures: Mountain View Hike, Breckenridge CO

5. Adjust your altitude for an alpine climb.

The city: Breckenridge, Colorado

The spot: Mohawk Lakes

“A go-to hike for us in Breckenridge is to the Mohawk Lakes,” says Lifeforce Health Coach Megan Houser. The trail is renowned for its picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains, including towering peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. In the springtime, you may even see colorful wildflowers dotting the landscape. The scenery becomes increasingly stunning as you ascend higher into the mountains. The moderate-to-difficult hike is around seven miles round trip with an elevation gain of over 1,700 feet, so bring plenty of water.
For more inspo from Lifeforce Health Coaches and Clinicians, head to our Instagram at @golifeforce.

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