|Improve health and wellness with water time in the 501|
|Monday, 19 September 2016|
Story and photos
As a well-seasoned registered nurse, I have observed that our surroundings affect us both mentally and physically. Many health and wellness experts have documented that time in nature decreases anger, fear and stress while increasing the feeling of well-being. Time spent looking at a scenic view can make us feel better emotionally, it can reduce blood-pressure, decrease heart rate, ease muscle tension, improve sleep, reduce stress hormones and possibly reduce the development of stress-induced illness.
Too much time in front of screens can dull our senses and increase our stress level. Nature can help to decrease the side effects of too much mobile device time. When we spend time in nature, our senses are keener. By taking time out on a lake, a river or a creek, we can appreciate the sounds of water bird calls, fishing and the healing power of a breaking wave. These simple experiences allow us to escape normal day life. This time enables us to have a respite for our overactive minds and refreshes our souls.
Nature has so many places we can escape to. Being near water especially lifts my mood, heals and soothes my spirit. I love the coolness of the air surrounding water and the sound of moving water. The body of water can be an ocean, a river, a lake or even a creek. Although oceans cannot be found in the 501, we are fortunate to have many lakes, rivers and creeks to enjoy.
Since I live in Conway, Beaverfork Lake, Lake Conway and the Arkansas River many times are the bodies of water I spend time near, but there are many more places with water readily available in the 501.
Greers Ferry Lake is found in Van Buren County and is a very large lake nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is a major tourist destination in the North Central part of our state. Boating, swimming, camping, wildlife viewing and hiking are available in and around this Ozark beauty.
The Hot Springs area also has three large lakes to enjoy. Lake Ouachita is in Garland County. It is another large lake found in the 501. The lake is 40,000 acres with more than 690 miles of shoreline. Lake Hamilton is a metropolitan lake close to Hot Springs city limits. There are more than 7,400 acres of water to enjoy. Lake Catherine is a 1,900-acre lake in Hot Spring County. It is a man-made lake created by damming the Ouachita River.
Along with spending time in nature, I love trying to capture water scenes with my camera. I recently purchased a point-and-shoot type camera to add to my arsenal of camera gear. As I get older, the weight of a DSLR camera has become more burdensome, and I never want to miss a beautiful scene because I left my camera at home. With the advent of mirrorless cameras and improved cell phone cameras, the weight and size of cameras are becoming less of an issue.
The 501 area is blessed with lots of water. We don’t have to go far to find a lake, river or a clear running creek. Our health and well-being are improved by spending time in nature and less time at a computer or watching television, so get out and enjoy the waters of the 501!