There’s something special about getting out of your comfort zone, even if it is ever so slight, and embarking on an adventure and really experiencing the natural world. There are many ways to explore the Blue Mountains and we believe that walking the trails, abseiling into the deep canyons and generally having fun using your own energy is the best way to enjoy the wilderness.
But don't take our word for it. Here are eight ways travel that active adventures can truly benefit your well-being and everyday life.
1. Spending time outdoors reduces stress
There’s a reason why there’s a smile on everyone’s face after they’ve come back from an active adventure – because they’re happier for it! All the stresses of life just melt away as you embark among some of the most stunning sceneries in the world.
Australians are some of the most stressed out people in the world, with recent report reporting that stress levels have been rising around the country for the past five years. Thankfully, research suggests that nature walks can reduce stress, as well as boost levels of attention.
Gregory Bratman, the lead author of the study, said that 'nature experiences, even of a short duration, can decrease this pattern of thinking that is associated with the onset, in some cases depression.'
So if you’re feeling the strain of city living, immerse yourself into the Blue Mountains to reduce your stress levels.
2. Nature makes exercise easier
If you're having trouble getting the motivation to get fit, here's a bit of information that will make exercise easier.
Research conducted at the University of Essex suggests that exercise feels easier when you are viewing the colour green, such as on trees, grass and other plants in nature.
The study conducted tested cyclists pedalling in front of green, red and grey images. Those who pedalled in front of the green screen reported that they felt lower exertion during their cycling, as well as displayed less mood disturbances than the other participants.
If you're looking for a way to get fit the easy way, fool your mind and go on an active adventure in nature where it's "green" - like here in the Blue Mountains!
3. Nature can rejuvenates your soul
One of the best reasons to spend time outdoors trekking and cycling is that it can reinvigorate your mental state. Studies have shown that viewing natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which can release endorphins and trigger a mental boost.
An interview by HuffingtonPost with a Seattle-based environmental psychologist states: 'In addition to helping decrease stress levels, spending more time with nature shows a shift toward more positive moods... the theory is that we respond positively to things that are good for us. Trees offer shade, protection and often have fruits and nuts, so they are a source of food as well as protection and comfort.'
Ultimately, we tend to be drawn and attracted to things that are beneficial to our survival, which is one of the reasons why trees and other natural elements can help lift our moods.
4. Gain a sense of accomplishment
Regardless of age and size, taking on an adventure can create feelings associated with personal achievement. The more difficult and greater the challenge, the more sense of achievement we feel when we accomplish those goals. Talk to us about our challenging canyoning experiences.
5. Travel increases your self-awareness
A bi-product of travel is raising your self-awareness and it’s one of the most beneficial parts of taking on an adventurous trip.
Adventure travel brings you closer to your “inner self”, giving you the chance to examine and challenge yourself in ways you didn’t think were possible.
Stepping into the unknown and taking a risk demands our increased attention and can bring an intense state of self awareness – one of the reasons that people, such as mountain climbers, engage in adventure activities.
These adventurers often return home with a more relaxed mind and an increase in self confidence – yet another reason to pack your kit and head to the Blue Mountains for some adventure.
6. The outdoors can make you smarter
Just ask our guides! Immersing yourself in the outdoors can increase your higher order cognition in more ways than one. This study found that brain scans taken after exercise showed that the participants had greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than they did before.
What’s more, active adventures help increase activity in your hippocampus, the brain’s main “storage unit”. Typically, the hippocampus decreases as you get older, leading to memory loss, however physical outdoor activity can lead to a chemical reaction in the body that increases the hippocampus. A group of middle aged adults took a 40-minute walk three times a week and over a year grew their hippocampi by two per cent.
7. Forge new friendships
Take an adventure and gain a friend; if there's one benefit of an adventure overseas that leaves you with the warm and fuzzy's, this is it.
Embarking on a challenge with other people can bring you closer together; sharing the trials and the triumphs gives you something to bond over and forms relationships that'll embed deep in your memories.
8. Learn new skills
If you ever want to brush up on your life skills, a rope based activity is all you need. The experiences gained from entering new surroundings and improving your skill set when abseiling will provide you with confidence that you can use in every day living..
These are some of our favourite reasons why adventure travel is good for you. Can you think of any more? Share them in the comments section below.