by Meg Taylor, Youth Programs Intern; photos by Sami Caun, Photography Intern

 
29283304106_7be4df4389_oAs a student at the University of Pittsburgh, I live in what I would call “a concrete jungle”. I take the public bus wherever I need to go, live in an apartment where silence is never an option, and am constantly in city mode. With that said, I love Pittsburgh and everything it has to offer – which includes all the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors even within an urban environment.
I am currently holding down classes, two jobs, volunteering, and a heavily involved internship. Just like the rest of “you yinzers” in Pittsburgh, sitting in front of a computer screen all day, getting on and off the bus, and the everyday stresses that come into my life, can get to be very overwhelming. When I realized that all these responsibilities were starting to negatively affect my life 29163788934_5c4bd7ca02_oand health, I decided to make a change. I bought a used bike on Craigslist to help me get around the city (and get exercise at the same time), started to take advantage of Venture Outdoors’s outings, and spending more time in parks in my area.

Since I have made these changes, my mental and physical health has improved dramatically. Though I am now biking almost 10 miles a day, I have never felt so energized. In addition, taking advantage of Kayak Pittsburgh on the North Shore has helped me step away from the stressors of being a student and my responsibilities at work and has helped me become more relaxed.

28696217213_65c8370e7e_oAccording to the US National Library of Medicine, there is strong evidence showing that the exposure to natural environments is now associated with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.  In addition, a recent epidemiological study has shown that “people who engage in greener urban areas benefit from sustained improvements in mental health.”

If you are a student looking for a way to de-stress your life, consider joining Venture Outdoors so that soon enough you can make your daily routine distresses into hiking, yoga, paddle boarding, kayaking, paddle boarding, and so much more.
Student Memberships through Venture Outdoors are only $15 a year and include various benefits, including kayak rentals through Kayak Pittsburgh! During September, gift memberships will also receive a bonus voucher that is good for one 1-hour free rental at Kayak Pittsburgh. Visit http://www.ventureoutdoors.org/gift-memberships/ today to start the gift membership process.