If you browse through the articles at My Itchy Travel Feet, then you know that Alan and I are big fans of National Park travel. We appreciate that wild and scenic destinations in the U.S. are being preserved for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
But National Parks play a more important and personal role in our life. A visit is good for our health—and yours. Did you know that a National Park visit raises N.E.L.? Say what? That’s Nature Engagement Levels according to Humana’s #StartWithHealthy campaign.
Here’s a first-hand example: When I’m hiking through the thick stand of ancient cedar trees on Glacier National Park’s Avalanche trail, it’s as if nature wraps her arms around me in a comforting hug. Shafts of sunlight filter through to the forest floor illuminating the thick carpet of vegetation. Even the air smells healthy.
On more than one hiking trip, I’ve been tempted to curl up on a bed of ferns for a restorative nap. I bet my N.E.L.s would go through the roof.
Did you know that, on average, only 7% of Americans spend enough time outdoors? Does that number include you? Find out by taking the N.E.L. quiz at National Geographic—sponsored by Humana—to discover just how much more time in the great outdoors your body needs.
When I took the quiz, I learned that my level is “Balanced,” so there’s room for improvement. Hmm, I’m thinking a fall National Park road trip to catch the end of the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration could up my N.E.L.s. And fall is my favorite time for a National Park visit. It’s less crowded and wildlife sightings are more numerous as animals prepare for winter.
But what if you don’t have the time to visit a National Park? You still need outdoor experiences to raise those N.E.L.s. So get out and hike on nearby trails. If you live in the city, take walks in a park. Or stroll the tree-lined streets of your suburban neighborhood.
And here’s a benefit from nature that you might not know: nature is beneficial even if you are indoors. Lucky me, I have a beautiful Montana view outside my office window. But you can also raise those N.E.L.s by adding plants to your décor. Hang a favorite scenic photo on the wall. Or use a nature photograph as a screensaver on the computer that you stare at for far too long. Bonus points if the photos are from your trip to a National Park!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Humana. The opinions and text are all mine.