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Hiking For Health
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This story is sponsored by Utah League of Cities and Towns. Click to learn more about Utah League of Cities and Towns.

What’s the easiest way to boost your mood, your budget and your overall health? The answer might be right out your front door. Taking a walk could be the best thing we do each day.

Those who frequent Utah’s beautiful trails say it relieves stress, it’s a great time for families and friends to talk and the scenery is beautiful. Rick Cox, a Murray resident, said: “I just get out, enjoy the fresh air, nice scenery, get out and enjoy nature a little bit.”

But perhaps even more significant, it improves our health. According to Intermountain Healthcare’s Director of Health Promotion and Wellness, Locke Ettinger, “The research shows that we need to be physically active. We should be getting 10,000 steps a day, but more importantly, we just need to be up and active.

Study after study shows exercise improves lives by curbing chronic illness like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer, diseases which have the national cost of health care soaring. Exercise fights depression and anxiety. As we get in better shape, we can cut the costs we pay for prescriptions and visits to the doctor. Exercise can help us live longer — and live better.

Ettinger said it doesn’t have to be difficult. “I think just getting out and starting a little bit, taking a few steps at a time, just increasing a little bit at a time. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon or do these long, extensive hikes. You just need to get up and walk for five minutes.”

To make it easier and more convenient, Intermountain Healthcare created an app to show us the nearest trails anywhere in Utah. Ettinger described the app, “It actually shows which trails are closest to you and you can click on that trail and you can find out how hard it is. We use the ski code which is black diamond, blue, and green for the easiest and you’re able to see what’s pet-friendly and other things through that.

Search for the Intermountain Health Hub in your app store. Download, open and get directions to some of the most beautiful terrains in the country.

Jill Wells, a Sandy resident, described what she’s discovered along Utah’s trails.

“Different scenery, different rock formations, colors, different wildlife and just something new everywhere you go. It doesn’t take a lot of traveling to see something completely new and unique to other trails."

Ettinger added, “I love to go out and connect with nature. I think that individuals are not connecting with nature like they should be. Almost everybody likes to go to Home Depot and smell the wood. That’s because people are starving for nature and so we need to reconnect. Especially children need to reconnect with nature."

Read more from the Utah League of Cities and Towns.