Monday, November 2, 2015

Reason No. 35 to Hike with Your Kids: Waterfalls boost energy levels

For a long time, an unsubstantiated theory claimed that being around waterfalls and ocean beaches can improve one's mood thanks to “negative ions.” Such ions actually do exist; when water molecules collide with one another, the water in fact becomes positively charged, and the surrounding air becomes negatively charged.

Pierce J. Howard, a Ph.D. and author of “The Owner's Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research,” now says that negative ions actually can make you feel good. That's because the negative ions entering our bloodstream can lead to biochemical reactions that reduce sadness and stress while raising energy levels.

“High concentrations of negative ions are essential for high energy and positive mood,” he recently told “Negative ions suppress serotonin levels in much the same way that natural sunlight suppresses melatonin. Hence the invigorating effect of fresh air and sunshine and the correspondingly depressed feelings associated with being closed in and dark.”

The best ratio of negative to positive ions for boosting moods typically occurs at waterfalls. The worst ratio occurs in windowless rooms and closed vehicles.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.