By Intern Jossi Duda
Tired? Need some more energy? You're not alone! According to StudyFinds.org, three in five Americans are more tired now than they have ever been in their lives. It's easy to reach for a cup of coffee in the morning and wolfing down a pick-me-up candy bar in the middle of the day, chasing it down with a Mt. Dew or other sugary soda, but March is National Caffeine Awareness Month, and this is the perfect time to reassess the amount of caffeine you are putting into your body.
Too much caffeine can have some harmful effects on your health. According to San Diego Health, these can include insomnia, digestive issues, increase in blood pressure, rapid heart rate and anxiety. To make people more aware of these dangers, the Caffeine Awareness Alliance was formed in 2003 to be able to push for a caffeine-free industry. They wanted to provide information and resources on the intake of caffeine and how you can be consuming caffeine without even knowing it. For instance, there are about 60 different plants that include caffeine in them. You may see a plant ingredient listed in a product, but not necessarily the caffeine it contains. Another example is chocolate. Products such as ice cream or other foods that contain chocolate flavoring can have small amounts of caffeine. Pair caffeine food products with sodas, coffee and tea, and you may be consuming way more caffeine than you think. This month it is important to take a step back and try substituting your regular caffeine intakes with some alternative healthy options.
A perfect way to get you through the day and get some energy is by exercising. Going on a walk is a great way to get exercise and to get your body moving even if it’s just a little bit. There are so many wonderful places located here in Lexington to be able to go for a walk and I am going to walk you through a few of them... haha, get it?
Photo: Arboretum website
The University of Kentucky Arboretum is by far my favorite place to go for a walk. Especially on a nice day, I could walk those paths in circles for hours just so I wouldn’t have to avoid going home. The Arboretum has a few different paths you can go on, so you can switch it up every time you go visit. One of my favorite things about the Arboretum is stopping and looking at the Fragrance Garden! It is lined with wooden columns covered in roses, rows of lavender and fruit trees. This garden is known to “awaken and stimulate your olfactory glands” so be sure to stop and smell the roses!
Photo: McConnell Springs website
If you aren’t nervous about running into some outdoor critters, McConnell Springs is your place! Every time you walk the trails you have the chance of seeing some furry friends as they are searching for food in the forest or drinking from the springs. A few common animals that have been spotted are white tail deer, raccoons, red fox, and mink. At the wetlands, turtles are very common and a popular attraction. Not only are there plenty of animals to see, but McConnell Springs also has a wide variety of plants that are native to the Bluegrass. Bur oak is a must-see when visiting. This tree has been standing for around 300 years and has quite the shape due to its growth without other trees around it. Today, McConnell Springs is one of Lexington’s most loved city parks, so be sure to check it out!
For me, Legacy Trail is the place that brings Kentucky altogether in one place. Between the cow farm, horses in the fields, and the rolling hills, this is what I imagine whenever I think of Kentucky. One of my favorite parts about this trail is being able to see the Kentucky Horse Park and all the horses standing behind the black four-plank fences. The vistas change from farmland to more urban scenes as you traverse the over 8-mile trek. This trail is covered in asphalt and is wide enough to allow biking, in-line skating and is wheelchair accessible.
These are just a few of the many walking trails sprinkled throughout Lexington. For more options, click here. We guarantee that walking will give you a boost of energy, maybe enough to kick the caffeine habit once and for all!