Author: Jonathan Farber PhD (page 1 of 2)

How Healthy is Hiking?

You know the saying “fresh air is good for you”? Well, it’s true. Getting outside in the great outdoors is good for your health, both mentally and physically. Your body will reap major benefits from hiking. Next time you’re going for a hike, remember how you’re doing your body good by taking your health to a new height.

 

Reduces Risk of Disease

 

Physical activity improves your overall health and quality of life. Therefore, hiking also improves your health. Hiking can lower your risk of diseases , like heart disease, strokes, anxiety, and diabetes. While you’re in the fresh air, you’re also doing your body a favor. Because hiking elevates your heart rate for the entire duration of your excursion, it keeps your heart healthy.

 

Tones Muscle

 

Like any other physical activity, hiking tones your muscles. Hiking is a weight-bearing activity that forces your muscles to push. The higher you go in elevation, the more your muscles work to get there. Hiking also strengthens your core, because your body attempts to balance as it climbs. It not only works your core, but your legs as well. For a full-body workout, you can also work your arms by using a walking stick or hiking poles.

 

Improves Sleep Quality

 

As you burn calories and engage in the fitness activity of hiking, you’re putting your body to work. When your body works hard, it makes it easier for your body to want sleep. This means that after hiking during the day, it will be easier to fall asleep at night. Getting a good night of sleep is good for your health because it not only improves your mood, but it helps you maintain your weight and heart as well.

 

Reduces Depression

 

Physical activity has been linked with boosting your mood. When you hike, your body is releasing “feel-good” endorphins that make you feel happy. Therefore, hiking has been found to reduce depression. The scenic views of hiking are a great bonus to getting physical activity, rather than surrounding yourself by the four walls of a gym. Through hiking, you can elevate your mood while you elevate your location.
Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy fresh air. While you’re taking the time to hike, you’re also taking time to benefit your body. Keeping your body in a healthy shape is key to maintaining a higher quality of life.

3 Amazing Things To Do In North Carolina

Living in North Carolina, I’m lucky enough to experience all of the beauty that the state has to offer. But sometimes, I forget that most others have never even been to North Carolina before, let alone the east coast. That being said, I would like to share some of the beautiful things that visitors can see and do when in the Tar Heel State. Here are, in no particular order, three things to do when visiting North Carolina.

 

Visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens

For those of you who are curious about the flora of the Old North State, be sure to visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Bringing in over 300,000 visitors each year, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens are located in the heart of Duke University. The Gardens’ Blomquist Garden is undoubtedly its most unique and enticing attraction. Featuring over 900 species of regional native plants, a wildlife and carnivorous plants section and a relaxing bird watching area, the Blomquist Garden is a botanist’s dream. The Gardens also feature an 18-acre Asiatic Arboretum, a series of historic gardens, a cafe and a souvenir shop. Bring the family for children and adult-oriented educational programs. With so much natural beauty to experience, Sarah P. Dukes Gardens are definitely a must see for North Carolina visitors and natives alike.

 

Family Fun at Carowinds

One of North Carolina’s more adrenaline-fueled attractions, Carowinds is an amusement park that packs as much of a punch as Six Flags or Universal Studios. With 10 heart-pounding rides—Afterburn and Hurler are standouts—Carowinds is guaranteed to prove a much needed escape from a stressful work week. And, for those that are not as keen on losing your lunch, Carowinds offers a bevy of family friendly rides, including Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena and the Do-Si-Do. If you’re visiting during the sweltering summer months, make sure to visit Carolina Harbor, Carowinds’ water park. With food, fun and thrills, Carowinds is sure to offer an exciting trip to North Carolina, for both families and singles.

North Carolina Zoo

For those more interested in fauna, North Carolina’s got you covered. Visitors can enjoy a trip through Africa, with a multitude of wildlife that populates the African plains, featuring lions to elephants to sitatungas. From there, visitors can take a stroll through the R.J. Reynolds Forest Aviary which contains more than a whopping 3,000 exotic plants and several birds, from the Chilean flamingo to the amethyst starling. Finally, visit familiar yet exciting territory at the North America exhibit. Featuring animals from arctic tundras to swampy marshes, the North America exhibit features the most eclectic mix of animals throughout the zoo. The zoo even features several kid-friendly attractions and events and a 4-D theater that takes visitors on an exciting prehistoric adventure. All of this combined makes the North Carolina Zoo one of the nation’s greatest.

5 Best Hiking Trails Around the World

While the majority of this site focuses on North Carolina’s great outdoors, I appreciate all outdoor spaces and environments. That being said, I figured it would be nice to take a look at some hiking trails that the rest of the world has to offer. This list ranges from the scorching deserts of Israel to the frozen landscapes of Nepal, so hopefully there is a trail on the list that peaks your interest.

 

Seoraksan National Park-Seoraksan, South Korea

Located in the countryside of the Gangwon Province, this national park is a cornucopia of flora and fauna. The park features over 2,000 species of animal and 1,400 different species of plant. Not only that, but the park also spans through the cities of Sokcho, Inje, Goseon and Yangyang.

 

The trail itself features hot springs, valleys full of flowers and gorgeous waterfalls. The trail even includes a view of Jujeongol Valley, which leads to the Seongguksa Temple. And for those looking for higher altitudes, the trail climbs up Daecheongbong which is the third highest peak in Korea.

 

Israel National Trail-Dan to Eilat, Israel

This trail is definitely not for the faint of heart. Spanning the entirety of the country of Israel, from Dan to Eilat, the Israel National Trail is approximately 620 miles long. For those seeking a more spiritual journey, the Israel National Trail is perfect, as it runs through several biblical sites including: the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee. The trail even features a “Jesus Trail” which runs from Nazareth to Capernaum. And if that isn’t enough, the trail is famous for its trail angels, Israelis who live along the trail that invite hikers into their homes for food and rest.

 

Everest Base Camp Trek-Kathmandu, Nepal

One of the hiking world’s most sought after prizes: climbing Mt. Everest. Climbing the astronomically tall, 29,029 foot high mountain is, as history suggests, no easy task. However, simply climbing to Everest’s base is no small feat either. That is why many choose to simply make the 17,590 foot hike. The hike begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal and last two weeks. Hikers can enjoy the culture of the local sherpas and learn about ancient Tibetan Buddhism through mani stones.  

 

Inca Trail-Cusco, Peru

Past the thick jungles of Peru, lies the Inca Trail. The trail, which lasts about four days, starts in Cusco and ends in Machu Picchu. In Cusco, hikers tour the Andean peaks, and afterwards, in Machu Picchu, hikers are able to witness the city left behind by the Incas, full of stone temples and palaces. Hikers also get to visit “The Town in the Clouds”, also known as Phuyupatamarca.

 

Tour du Mont Blanc-France, Italy and Switzerland

This 104-mile journey features breathtaking snow-capped mountains, glassy blue lakes and an abundance of greenery. The trail goes through three different countries: Italy, France and Switzerland. While trekking through Italy, hikers can experience the Aosta Valley, including some of the highest peaks in the Alps. The piece of the trail running through France passes by the famous Church of Notre Dame. For anyone looking to experience some of the most gorgeous natural and man-made structures on earth, look no further than the Tour du Mont Blanc.

5 Valentine’s Day Outdoor Excursion Ideas

February is a month associated with love and romance. And while many celebrate Valentine’s Day with a traditional movie, restaurant or nice home-cooked meal, there are so many other ways to celebrate the day of love with your significant other. If you really want to think outside of the box and surprise your partner, why not try an outdoor excursion? With that in mind, here are five beautiful and romantic places to visit around the world that are sure to create some of your most fond memories.

 

Tuscany, Italy

This probably comes as no surprise to most of you, seeing as how Italy is usually associated with romance, and rightfully so. The region’s three popular cities—Florence, Siena and Lucca—feature a bevy of gorgeous getaways and attractions, like vineyards, intimate towns and breathtaking vistas. Other activities include bathing in the various natural hot springs or trekking through the Chianti countryside. Regardless of what you choose to do, you will undoubtedly enjoy your stay in Tuscany.

 

Swiss Alps

If you and your significant other enjoy winter sports, then the Swiss Alps are for you. You can schedule an adrenaline-filled ski trip at the top of the Swiss Alps. And, once you’ve gotten your fill of winter sport fun, you can fill up on exquisite food at Le 3842, Europe’s highest restaurant, which features a remarkable view of Mont Blanc. Afterwards, relax and pamper yourselves with a day at one of the many spas.

 

African Safari

While this one may seem a bit extreme at first, it can certainly prove to be romantic. If you are an adventurous couple, traveling to the African wilderness will surely whet your appetite, and even take a romantic turn come nightfall. If possible, head over to Namibia or Mozambique at night and lay down on the grass. Gazing up at the billions of stars shining light years away is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience so make sure to spend it with a loved one. Of course, there are plenty of other sights and sounds in Africa to keep you interested, like raging waterfalls, diverse wildlife and cave paintings from some of the earth’s earliest humans.

 

Southeast Asian Islands

Perhaps you and your loved one are constantly surrounded by others, living in a populous metropolitan area, and your ideal getaway is a mostly remote beach. Luckily, there are places around the world that accommodate your needs. One area in particular is the Southeast Asian islands. With their crisp and clean blue waters and white sandy beaches, these islands should definitely relax even the most stressed individuals. And, if you do feel the need to do something other than bathe in the warm rays of the sun, you can participate in several aquatic activities like scuba diving, snorkeling or kayaking.

 

Paris, France

While this list truly is in no particular order, it seems as though I am saving the best for last. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on earth, housing some of the world’s most revered landmarks. Enjoy an intellectual and enlightening tour of the world famous Louvre, which features historically significant art pieces, or simply climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and peer out over the Paris landscape. Even better would be a leisurely stroll along La Seine, enjoying the night time lights of Paris. With so many romantic attractions it’s no surprise why it’s called the City of Love.
Now, I know that all of these trips are rather pricey and could probably take more than a week to organize, but if you can manage to schedule a trip before this Valentine’s Day, I strongly suggest you do so.  Also, obviously, these places will require more than one day to truly experience everything they have to offer, so why not make a vacation out of it? And if you cannot do it this year, there’s always next year!

4 Destinations Every Hiker Should Visit

Hiking and the great outdoors is a major passion of mine. And while I typically tend to stick to North Carolina’s great outdoors, I am always open to other areas of interest. So, in the spirit of all things backpacking and hiking related, here are four destinations around the country that are sure to make any first time hiker get hooked.

Adirondack Mountains, New York

Typically whenever New York is mentioned, people assume the city is all that New York offers. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the United States’ 27th largest state, with over 54,000 square miles, New York has a wealth of gorgeous wilderness to explore. Located only four hours from New York City, the Adirondack Mountains features some of the state’s most gorgeous views and mountain ranges. Featuring a 6-million acre forest and hundreds of mountains (46 of which are taller than 4,000 feet), the Adirondack Mountains are sure to entice any and all hikers.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

This glorious mountain is only 50 miles away from Portland. The best way to experience the stratovolcano is to hike its 40-mile Timberline Trail. The trail winds up and down through Hood’s gorgeous alpine meadows. But if simply hiking around the mountain isn’t good enough, rest assured that you can climb to Hood’s peak. The 6.8 mile Hogsback Route allows hikers, both novices and experts alike, to climb to the mountain’s 11,000+ peak. There are a multitude of methods to enjoy this natural beauty, so choose the one that suits you and enjoy.

Roan Mountain, Tennessee/North Carolina

More of a series of five peaks and less of an actual mountain, Roan Mountain still has plenty to offer for hikers. Enjoy its many woods, rhododendron gardens and its grassy balds. The choice is yours. Roan Mountain is also home to some gorgeous wildlife, including wild horses.

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Exotic wildlife, historic forests and breathtaking meadows await anyone who visits this national park. Even with all of that, Rainier’s most prized possession has to be its 14,410-foot volcano. If you’re looking for something specific to do, as opposed to wandering aimlessly through its wildflower meadows, try hiking through the Sunrise Rim Trail. The 5.2-mile trail grants visitors amazing views of the North Cascades, the Tatoosh Range and Mt. Tahoma. Still not satisfied? Then opt for the somewhat longer 17-mile Mother Mountain loop. Either way you go, you are sure to fall in love with the park, ensuring multiple visits for years to come.

The United States is littered with thousands of breathtaking views, from thousands of parks, ranges and mountains. This is only a small taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. For a larger list of locations that are sure to whet your wilderness appetite, be sure to check out Backpacker.com. Hopefully this small list gives you an idea of where to go.

What to Do in North Carolina During the Winter

north carolina winter

Snow flutters, icicles hang, people shiver and the radio overflows with Christmas tunes. The holidays have arrived, and we’re all looking forward to a much-needed chance to reunite with family, catch up, sip some eggnog and have a great, relaxing holiday vacation.

For those of us on the prowl for a perfect place to come together with loved ones, the holidays can sometimes send us spiraling into stress. But finding a premiere location for your tribe’s holiday reunion doesn’t have to be an exercise in rising blood pressure; in fact, fun is a guarantee for any clan of adventurers willing to make great memories exploring the captivating winterscape of the Old North State this holiday.

As a North Carolina native, I’m proud to live in one of the truly gorgeous regions this country has to offer. If you’re a frequent visitor to my site, you might already know of the many outdoor wonders that wind, trickle and soar around North Carolina’s every corner. What you may not know is that seasonal shifts here result in a unique and unforgettable winter experience, and an excellent itinerary can be a tricky thing for those not intimate with everything the area has in store. To help, I’ve put together this list of exhilarating activities and must-see spots hidden in the wintry North Carolina countryside.

  1. The Outer Banks – Often overcrowded every other time of the year, the Outer Banks are all but abandoned during winter months, which leaves an ideal space for peaceful relaxation.
  2. Ice Climbing – Looking to feed your adrenaline craving? North Carolina winters are known to bring about some of the greatest conditions for ice climbing in the region. Beginners to the sport can use this site to schedule classes.
  3. Pilot Mountain – Photographers looking to hone their visual chops shouldn’t skip a visit Pilot Mountain, one of North Carolina’s most picturesque sights. Pilot mountain is a great getaway for hikers and non-hikers alike, as it is possible to drive to the summit.
  4. Dry Falls –  Have you ever walked under a frozen solid waterfall? If not, I highly recommend a winter trip to Dry Falls, where rushing water blends seamlessly with nature-sculpted icy masterpieces.
  5. Hawksnest at Seven Devils – If tubing is your thing, Hawksnest is your mecca. You won’t find better slopes to slide down anywhere in the East.  For scheduling and additional info, this is their site.
  6. Crowder’s Mountain – Maybe the cold is catching up with you. If so, you might consider a trip to Crowder’s Mountain. It’s south of Charlotte, so you’ll be spared winter’s worst while roaming one of nature’s greatest trails.

So be adventurous this holiday season, and give your loved ones an unforgettable North Carolina tour!

 

Reduce Stress & Increase Mindfulness

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

The ABC’s Of Mindfulness

jonathanfarbermindfulness

Jonathan Farber PhD | Must See Campsites in North Carolina

If you are looking to plan your next camping trip in North Carolina, I highly recommend these 3 camping sites:

57e969f9563d4

3 Must See Camp-Sites in North Carolina

CampingEnoRiver

Summer time is here in full swing, meaning it is time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful and warm outdoors! Whether you want to plan a week long getaway or just a weekend trip, this blog post will go over all of my favorite places to plan a camping trip in North Carolina.

From camping right on the beach and playing in the Atlantic Ocean to hiking the beautiful Smoky Mountains, North Carolina is the place to go if you want to have some fun in the sun. Come for some hiking, biking, fishing, and my favorite, wildlife viewing.

Check out these three campsites for your next camping adventure in North Carolina:

CAMPFIRE LODGINGS, ASHEVILLE

camping

This is a private campground that is nestled in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. If you are newer to camping, going with a private campground can help to alleviate any worries you may have. Campfire Lodgings has options for tent or RV camping, plus there are rental cabins, yurts, and the Cliff House. There are 100 acres of woods and more hiking and biking trails than you can imagine.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, NORTH CAROLINA

great-smoky-mountains-national-park-nc-western-north-carolina-dave-allen

There are 10 campsites located in Great Smoky Mountain National Park that are accessible by cars and RVs. You can also do backcountry camping and there is a horse campground also available. For car camping, check out either Cades Cove or Smokemont campgrounds for RV and tent camping. This national park is full of wildlife viewing of elk, white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, and wild turkeys. There are waterfalls to hike back to, trails to bike and wander on, and beautiful fall colors to see while you are fishing the day away.

CAPE HATTERAS NATIONAL SEASHORE, OUTER BANKS

Outer_Banks-Cape_Hatteras_National_Seashore-North_Carolina-3e9e5d8c0ed849999531500640a0dbf0_c

There is nothing quite like visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There are beautiful beaches, marine life, and a way of life that slows down with the rolling in of the waves. At Cape Hatteras National Seashore you can choose from four different campgrounds. All of them have space for RVs and tent camping, and have dump sites, showers, and fireside grills. These campgrounds are ocean-side so you can fall asleep to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean. The Frisco Campground is located right in the sand dunes, whereas the others are separated by the beach with barrier dunes.