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3 Activities with Stress- Relief and Health Benefits

Check out the 3 activities with stress- relief and health benefits! If you’re planning your next vacation or even just dreaming of one, the first step is activity planning. There are many things to consider of course. For instance, which activities are family-friendly, and which are the most fun! And of course, which will offer amazing photo opportunities to remember your travels by!

One thing you may not have considered is which activities will actually improve your health. While it’s common knowledge that taking a holiday is relaxing, certain types of activities will amplify even further the stress-relief vacations already offer. 

Surprising research shows that many activities offered on Adrenaline Hunter have been shown to physiologically reduce stress, improve psychological well-being, and increase feelings of self-esteem.

Read on to find out the top 3 picks for activities that are not only fun and memorable but good for your health, too!

Dog Sledding 

Most people have quite a fond feeling towards animals. They’re cute, they’re playful, they’re soft. So it comes as no surprise that dog sledding is a highly- searched activity to do during the winter. After all, it’s beautiful, thrilling and fun! But dog sledding, more specifically the interaction with the dogs, has been shown to physically reduce stress. 

Public health ecologist Alan Beck, and psychiatrist Aaron Katcher, used psychological methods to evaluate the effects of human physiological response around friendly dogs. Participants breathing patterns became more regular, their heartbeats slowed and their muscles relaxed. Ultimately, changes in these, and other various physiological responses indicated an overall reduced level of stress.

Emotional and cognitive growth for children

In addition to stress relief, PhD and authors Melson (2005) and Myers (2006) both found that having animals in children’s lives is extremely important. Dogs help them to foster both emotional and cognitive growth. In other words, there are additional psychological benefits, and these benefits are not limited to interactions with dogs, but other animals as well.

Dog sledding in Tromso, Norway for example, is a great opportunity for you and your children to reap the benefits of animal interaction. After having an exhilarating sled ride and a buffet lunch, visitors have the opportunity to pet and interact with the husky dogs.

In addition to dog sledding, there are multiple other kids of animal encounters available on Adrenaline Hunter. For example, you can swim with dolphins in Mauritius, and or take an epic whale watching tour beautiful in Arctic Norwegian waters.

Ice Floating

Some of the most epic places to visit during the winter are the beautiful northern regions of Scandinavia. Rovaniemi, Finland for example, offers an obscene amount of winter delight. Being so far north, however, means the necessity of dressing in down coats, soft scarves and cozy hats. With all the activity choices available in Lapland, you may not have heard of this brand new activityIce Floating.

Ice Floating involves zipping up into what is known as a drysuit. While wearing all your normal clothes underneath, you submerge yourself in icy frozen lakes while gazing up at the northern lights. 

It might sound chilly, but winter swimming, defined as intensive, but short-term cold water exposure, has been scientifically shown to provide health benefits. According to a study in the International Journal of Medicine, winter swimmers studies experience decreased frequency of infectious diseases and a 40% decrease in upper respiratory infections. The same study also found evidence of improved antioxidative protection, meaning an increased ability of the body to fight off oxidative toxins.

Increased ability to manage stress

A separate study published in the scientific periodical, The Journal of Physiology,  also found that repeated short-term exposure to cold water over a period of time significantly decreased adrenaline- sympathetic response. What this means is that cold water swimming decreases your body’s overreaction to stressors, increasing the ability for the body to return to a baseline state of calm during stressful times much faster and quicker than it would have otherwise.

Further, the American Journal of Sports Medicine and the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences in Liverpool found that cold water temperatures may be effective in treating muscle damage and exercise-induced injury.

To be fair, you won’t feel very cold in the drysuit. But there are however cold plunge spots available nearby where one can jump in and out for cold water immersion benefits. And then run into a hot sauna directly after of course!

Skydiving

Skydiving, the sport where you basically hurl yourself out of a plane from 4000 meters in the sky, is nothing new (unless you’ve just been transported from 1000 years in the past). It may even be something you’ve tried or done many times before. But did you know that skydiving is actually good for you?

Many people write this sport off as something only for adrenaline junkies and risk-takers. But contrary to popular belief, skydiving offers psychological benefits, especially for those who jump regularly.

Researchers at the Simon Fraser institute found that a controlled group of participants experienced a greater sense of well being after skydiving. In addition, they found these skydivers gained further emotional skills such as confidence, engagement, happiness and a feeling of accomplishment.

Improved life and psychological peace

Facing their fears in this situation gave them a feeling of “psychological peace”. The primary researcher of this study, PhD Stephen Mark Rochefort, states that “Despite the potential negative consequences, (skydiving) dramatically improves the lives of some individuals.”

His study also showed that “thrill seekers” and extreme sports participants are pretty good people. As well as being generally absent of any tendencies towards impulsivity, the researchers found that these kind of people are often thoughtful, well-intentioned and well-trained. They are actually not inclined to seek out situations of uncertainty and uncontrollability.

So before you nail down plans for your future vacation, consider choosing activities that will actually benefit you first! After all, if just jumping out of a plane can make you a better person, I’m in!