Bull Shoals Lake is just a short drive away from Branson, MO.
Escape to the Ozarks
by Larry Whiteley
Outdoor activities are good for your heart
Being outdoors is good for us. Nature and fresh air can help us relax and feel less stressed. Most of us can sure use that after all we have been through, and still going through with the COVID-19 virus. We need to be taking care of our immune system to help battle this. Exercise, sunlight, and the outdoors have all been shown to help with that.
A Harvard Medical School study showed that exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. You don’t have to go to a gym. Outdoor activities are a great way to get plenty of exercise.
A study conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center acknowledges the role sunlight plays in vitamin D production, but also found another surprising benefit. Sunlight directly activates key immune cells by increasing their movement. “T” cells, a type of white blood cell crucial for immune response, were found to be more mobile after test subjects were exposed to sunlight. All of this is vital in protecting you and your family from COVID-19. Simply spending time outdoors and the exercise you get from it has been associated with a range of other health benefits as well, from lower incidence of diabetes to decreased blood pressure.
All the health benefits the great outdoors has to offer await you in the heart of America in Branson, Mo. surrounded by the beautiful Missouri/Arkansas Ozark Mountains. There may be no better place to experience the outdoors and be able to enjoy lots of family entertainment in one place. The forested hills, pristine lakes and clear flowing streams will stay forever in your memories. And, it’s a short flight or within a day or two drive from just about anywhere you live.
Water sports like swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, boating, sailing, scuba diving, Jet Skiing, parasailing, riding a hydro-bike, going stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and of course fishing are all fun to do and allow you to maintain proper social distancing.
Speaking of fishing, you can choose from rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Kentucky bass, striped bass, white bass, rock bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, yellow perch, 4 species of sunfish and even the historic paddlefish. If you’re unfamiliar with the fishing in Branson area lakes, just book a guided fishing trip through one of the many guide services. Tackle shops and marinas will be glad to outfit you, give you fishing tips and maybe tell a few fish stories. Marina’s offer boat and equipment rentals or if you bring your own there are multiple public and privately-owned locations to access the lake. Did I mention eating the fish you catch is also good for your health as is the exercise you get catching them?
After you are done fishing or other water sports on Table Rock Lake, you can enjoy a lunch or dinner cruise and show aboard the Showboat Branson Belle paddle wheeler or take a cruise on the Spirit of America catamaran.
Lake Taneycomo runs right through Branson. Its water comes from the bottom of Table Rock Lake, making it a cold-water lake perfect for trout fishing. The pristine, clear water, is stocked annually with approximately 750,000 rainbow trout and makes it a world-class trout fishery. The state record brown trout came from these waters and many believe the next world record is swimming around right now in Taneycomo’s waters. This lake is also perfect for kayaking and there are plenty of resorts and other lodging along its banks.
Nearby Bull Shoals Lake is a short drive away and is in both Missouri and Arkansas. It also offers camping and hiking adventures along with unbelievable fishing for many species of fish. Its clear waters are also perfect for scuba diving as well as all the water activities of the other lakes.
The rivers and streams that flow into all three lakes are perfect for fishing, floating, relaxing on their banks, sitting around a campfire, skipping rocks, catching crawdads, or playing in the water and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings of the Ozarks.
Hiking is a great way to get sunshine and exercise and there are miles of trails in the Branson area of varying lengths offering natural views of water, woods and wildlife. The Branson/Lakes Area features more than 200 miles of hiking, biking and even horseback riding trails that are all easy for you to keep the proper social distancing.
If you want to camp, you can spend quality time together with the comforts of a full-service RV site or unplug and reconnect with your family at a campground near one of the beautiful lakes. If they would rather stay in a log cabin, resort, lodge or hotel the choices are endless. Be sure you check ahead to see if reservations are required as well as what they are doing to avoid overcrowded situations and other COVID-19 regulations.
Looking for more outdoor adventures for your family? Riding a zipline is a downhill experience through the hills and valleys the family won’t ever forget. Try trap or skeet shooting. Visit a cave. Go geocaching. There are UTV rides, boat rides, train rides, balloon rides and even an old fashion Ferris wheel ride.
In addition to all the outdoor opportunities, you can also visit Silver Dollar City theme park, nature parks, indoor and outdoor water parks or museums and aquariums. Have a great meal at one of the many restaurants or take in a dinner show. Play a round of golf on your choice of several world-class golf courses, have fun at one of the many miniature golf courses or play disc golf. You can also take your choice of one of the many great music and comedy shows.
Branson has so much to offer. There is always something you can enjoy doing in and around Branson to fill your days and nights with fun-packed activities to help get the exercise you need. Or, you can come to just relax and recharge your body and soul. That’s good for your physical and mental health.
Residents and visiting guests are expected to follow the regulations set forth by both national and Missouri governments and the CDC to help keep you, your family and those around you as healthy as possible during these uncertain times.
Come for all the great outdoors Branson has to offer and enjoy all the family entertainment. Go back home with lots of memories of sunshine, exercise, relaxation, and tons of fun.