How hiking can make you live longer; and ditching plastic water bottles for good 

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I tend to look at research studies with a certain amount of skepticism. I often think that — much like how I feel about political polls — "studies" aren't substantial enough to really pay attention to.  But when I saw a recent headline stating that not engaging in cardiovascular exercise (being a couch potato) is as bad or worse than being a smoker, I couldn't help but to click on it with my skepticism kicked into high gear.

The study, done by the renowned Cleveland Clinic from 1991 through 2014, is not only shocking in its findings, but is impressive in its depth and breadth. It involved 122,000 patients and "found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness," according to an online news release from the clinic. Additionally, the study found that the benefits of "extreme" aerobic fitness was most pronounced for those over 70 and those with hypertension.

In other words, hiking can, in fact, make you live longer.

Ditch the plastic bottles for good

Everyone knows that plastic, disposable water bottles are handy, but they're also terrible for the environment. You buy the bottled water, drink it, and then, in most cases, toss it in the trash, and eventually into a landfill where it exists forever.

In an effort to reduce this waste, the use of reusable bottles has long been promoted. National Parks, which for several years actually banned the sale of bottled water, have water bottle fill stations at their visitors centers, as do Colorado State Parks. But what happens when you're on your way to your favorite trail and realize that you forgot to refill your bottle after your last outing? Oftentimes there isn't any potable water at a trailhead, and buying a bottle of water to tide you over kind of defeats the purpose of having a reusable bottle.

A new mobile app called TAP seeks to help you out. The app uses the GPS in your phone to give you the location of nearby water fill sites anywhere from public locations to businesses like fast food or fast-casual restaurants. I've tested the app and found it to be pretty useful.

For more information and to get a link to the app, go here.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.


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