I've had this urge lately to go on a hike. Nothing crazy, but just to walk out in nature. I think there is something restorive about being outside, breathing fresh air (which isn't an easy thing to do in California), and getting away from the normal rhythm of life that has most of us cooped up inside some sort of building.
So instead of going out and finding a place to hike, I surfed the web instead (okay, I was actually looking for easy trails close to home) and found sites like this one that talks about the benefits of hiking. The list wasn't surprising. It improves cardio vascular performance, muscular strength, bone strength, helps you burn calories, etc. But I sort of believe the benefit goes beyond just the physical. Being outside and listening to bird calls or the sound of your feet crunching on leaves and twigs; watching clouds drift across the sky or the sun rise and set; feeling your own heart beating a little harder than it normally does makes us appreciate the beauty of nature and wonder of our amazing planet.
I found a blog of this guy who decided to hike everyday for a year. Supposedly he did it and still maintained his job and family. For me, I think I'll just resolve to go on a hike this weekend. I'm almost positive I'll return to my writing with renewed energy and desire to sit at my desk again, rather than staring out my window at the mountains and wishing I were out there instead.