Starting an Outdoor Walking Routine

Walking Routine
Image: active.com

Residing in Westbury, NY, Valerie Varnuska likes the arts, particularly opera, dance, and music performances. Valerie Varnuska also loves nature and often takes hikes in scenic areas.

Whether you prefer a half-day hike or a short walk in the park, spending time in nature is one of the best ways to relieve stress and escape from the fast pace of urban life. Exploring nature trails is also a fun way to stay physically fit.

If you’re just beginning a walking or hiking routine, start in a local park before you advance to longer, more challenging trails. Once you discover a walking circuit that you enjoy, continue to follow the same course regularly, pausing to observe seasonal changes in the natural environment.

Once you feel comfortable with your regular walk, try adding small challenges, such as taking a steeper path up an incline. After rigorous hiking, take time to rest so your body can repair itself and be restored for your next outdoor adventure.

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Researchers Identify Fossil as T-Rex Ancestor

Valerie Varnuska enjoys exploring the natural surroundings of her home in Westbury, NY. Maintaining an interest in natural history, Valerie Varnuska stays up to date with the latest fossil discoveries.

Scientists have been examining an odd dinosaur fossil discovery in New Mexico that they now believe is an early ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus rex. Researchers at the University of New Mexico say the 92-million-year-old dinosaur fossil, which stands only about three feet tall, represents a miniature version of the massive Tyrannosaurus rex. The fossil was discovered during an archeological dig in the Zuni Basin area of New Mexico approximately 20 years ago.

The discovery begs the question of whether other small, proto-version dinosaurs roamed the earth. The fossil has been named “Suskityrannus hazelae” by the research team, but it currently is not on public display.

New Species of Cold-Water Coral Discovered in the Atlantic

A Westbury, NY, outdoors enthusiast, Valerie Varnuska enjoys hiking in her local area. With a passion for scientific discovery, Valerie Varnuska remains apprised of developments that further our understanding of the natural world.

As reported in The New York Times, researchers recently discovered a pair of new cold-water coral species within the undersea canyons that extend off the New England coast. The bubblegum corals are situated within the vast Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, 150 miles southeast of Boston.

Extremely slow to grow, cold-water corals are often thousands of years old and exist at depths far deeper than humans are capable of diving. The new species were discovered in a region dubbed “Dr. Seuss’ Garden” through the use of an OceanX submersible vehicle and underwater drones. Unfortunately, the coral’s days may be numbered, as global warming is expected to push up temperatures in the region three times faster than in other parts of the Atlantic.

The Ravaging of Puerto Rico’s Forests by Hurricane Maria

Based in Westbury, NY, Valerie Varnuska has a wide range of interests that include stargazing, and attending the theater. Additionally, Valerie Varnuska keeps informed on nature issues around the globe.

Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in many ways, but scientists have found that the destruction wasn’t limited to the country’s urban areas and infrastructure. The damage of the forests could be a bellwether of more catastrophic things to come. According to an article published in the journal Nature Communications, some of Puerto Rico’s oldest and most storm-resistant trees were destroyed by Maria.

If the current track of climate change isn’t altered, hurricanes are projected to become more and more severe. The results could be disastrous – a complete altering of the growth dynamics in forests, and eventually, the creation of an environment in which trees give off more atmospheric carbon than they absorb. This cascade effect would accelerate climate change and forever alter the way forests function in hurricane-affected areas.

Research Shows Exposure to Nature Boosts Health

Stargazing for Beginners pic

Stargazing for Beginners
Image: skyandtelescope.com/

Based in Westbury, NY, Valerie Varnuska enjoys a variety of interests, including art, dance, and opera. Also interested in the outdoors, Valerie Varnuska enjoys stargazing and going for walks in nature.

Studies have connected spending time in nature with a number of health benefits. The following research studies are just a few examples.

One Korean study showed research participants pictures of urban versus natures scenes. Researchers used MRI to examine participants after. Those who viewed urban scenes showed a heightened activity level in the anterior temporal pole, or the part of their brain responsible for negative emotions. In contrast, participants who viewed rural photos exhibited increased activity in the areas of the brain associated with pleasure, emotional stability, empathy, and love.

Additional studies have shown that being in nature, or even thinking about nature, can lead to better recovery from stress, as the body’s blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension decrease. Similarly, research shows that the greater the amount of green space a person lives next to, the greater their ability is to recover from stress.