Find the cure on a pair of skis

Blue Ridge Falls, located on state Route 28 in North Hudson provides one of the most dramatic ice flows in the region. (Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Although it is easy to forget or overlook the Adirondack region’s long-lasting legacy of providing guests with an opportunity to benefit from the “healing woods,” there was a time when such efforts were known worldwide.

Fortunately, we were recently reminded of that impact when a Norwegian ambassador traveled to Saranac Lake to present Natalie (Bombard) Leduc with a medal for her care and concern for the Norwegian soldiers that were interred there.

While the scope of region’s international fame as a cure center was traditionally centered on caring for patients taking the cure from the scourge of tuberculosis, the legacy of the region’s vast ‘“healing woods” remains intact and thriving.

Although modern medicine has effectively eradicated the threat TB once presented, there will continue to be a variety of afflictions, maladies and ailments that will benefit from the time spent out of doors.

It is very easy for people who have never spent much time outdoors to underestimate or even recognize the basic human need to be outside. It is a natural process that enhances our senses, enlivens our spirit and provides us with more opportunities to learn about ourselves. It is easy to dismiss time spent skiing, hunting, biking or just wandering aimlessly.

Fortunately, the medical community is finally getting around to quantifying what most outdoor travelers know so well. A recent study conducted by health researchers paints a much more accurate portrait of skiing and the myriad health benefits the activity may have to offer.

Researchers and physicians recommend regular physical activity as a way to ensure a healthy body. Activities such as skiing, biking and hiking have the ability to make a positive psychological impact on your life.

As a healthy way of coping with life’s stressors, downhill or cross-country skiing offers a distraction from the everyday worries of life, reduces anxiety and depression symptoms, helps to boost your mood and may even improve your memory.

Wait, it gets better.

Research indicates skiing helps you cope with anxiety that develops from stressful life situations. Getting out onto the slopes provides you with a change of environment that helps you break free from the cycle of self-perpetuating negative thoughts that invade you throughout the day.

Taking your mind off your worries, whether those worries are ongoing problems in your life or an unusual, once-in-a-lifetime event, skiing may give you the mental break that you need and deserve. Now get out the ‘script pad, Doc.


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