Summer time fun

Summer+time+fun

Mo Murray, Sports Editor

A common complaint from the high school age population of Durango is that during the hot summer months, without school to provide structure, there seems to be nothing to do. But this summer, before you throw the towel in and spend your days locked inside glued to your laptop screen, I suggest getting a good group of friends together to explore the natural beauty surrounding our town.

Camping, hiking, and playing in the river with my friends is one of the most fun and exciting parts of my summer. Those who typically spend the upcoming months in Durango are gifted with beautiful trails and campsites in every climate from the hot desert areas to thick forests and rivers. Lake Nighthorse was recently opened for business, providing another great opportunity to take advantage of the outdoor activities Durango has to offer while the weather is nice.

Spending time outside can have benefits that often go unrecognized, such as an elevation in white blood cells that help your immune system. Countless studies have proven that cognitive function and creative problem solving can be boosted by as much as 50% after spending a few days in the woods, and even your short term memory can benefit from spending time in nature.

Aside from physical benefits, your mental health and stress levels can improve greatly if you increase the amount of time you’re spending outside. Natural beauty has been proven to counteract mental fatigue and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve focus and concentration. Sticking exclusively to indoor activities has been proven to have nearly opposite effects.

Being outside can also ensure that you’re getting a healthy amount of exercise regularly. Although being indoors doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t exercise and spending time outside doesn’t necessarily demand any rigorous physical activity, spending large amounts of time indoors is directly associated with a more sedentary lifestyle. Even taking short, easy walks in the sun as opposed to using electronics all day can have exceptional health benefits.

Additionally, enjoying the warm weather during breaks in school can help regulate your sleep cycle. Although it’s tempting to stay awake for ridiculous amounts of time and take advantage of the lack of commitment in everyday life during the summer months, this can create a tough transition back into early mornings at high school. Routine exposure to sun in the mornings and being active outside can naturally guide your sleep cycle in order to make sure you’re getting a healthy amount of rest in a consistent pattern.

This summer, you can make a simple change that will benefit your mental and physical health, as well as ensure you make some lasting memories in our beautiful town. Take the time to plan out a fun day at the river with a group of friends, or just take a short walk; the possibilities for an adventure in nature around Durango are essentially endless.