July is one of the most important months for the Marianas Islands with the liberation of the CNMI celebrated annually on July 4th, alongside American Independence Day, and Guam observing its Liberation Day on July 21st. This month is also National Parks and Recreation Month, a special time when all are encouraged to enjoy the many national parks, and historic places that can be found throughout the islands.
In our day-to-day lives it can be hard to find time to take a step out of our routine. However, good health and the great outdoors are not at all too unrelated. Exposure to the great outdoors is associated with numerous health benefits and might be a key to reaching your health goals. In an October 2018 study, incidence of stroke, hypertension, dyslipidemia, asthma, and coronary heart disease were reduced with the exposure to outdoor activity. In addition, exposure to the outdoors also increased the incidences of good self-reported health. So, if you’re not fully convinced just yet on why you should take a step outside, perhaps the treasure trove of history, and culture that awaits you in the Marianas will be just the incentive you need to embark on your next island adventure.
National Parks for the History Lover
The Marianas Islands is home to several splendid national parks that are full of important history for both the local, national, and international communities. With just a short venture outside of the local tourist districts you can find a treasure trove of World War II relics such as those found at the Piti Guns in Guam, or the Japanese Fortifications located in Unai Laolao Kattan in Saipan. Take a short hike to each location, and walk a mile in the shoes of our brave WWII veterans and survivors. The Marianas is the perfect getaway for history buffs as the place of some of the fiercest battles during World War II.
A Cultural Adventure Waiting to be Discovered
For those looking for a more cultural experience try one of the many sacred ancient sites found in the Marianas such as the House of Taga located in Tinian. Take a step back in time and see first-hand the largest known latte stone structures to be found throughout the Marianas with heights of over fifteen feet! Perhaps even ponder how these ancient people managed to erect such marvelous monoliths without the use of a crane. Or try to decipher the hidden meanings behind Gadao’s Cave located in Inalahan, Guam, and learn about how Ancient Chamorros mastered the seas with their use of star charts which you can find all along the cave walls.
Something for Everyone
Whether you’re looking for your next great adventure, or just looking to take it easy, July is the best time to get out and enjoy the beauty of our islands. There’s no better way to get outside and stay healthy than to take it all in at one of the many national parks and historic places right in our backyard. With the numerous family and community festivities that will surely bring us all together again after over a year of social distancing, let’s remember to get outside and get healthy!
Source: Twohig-Bennett, Caoimhe, and Andy Jones. “The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes.” Environmental research vol. 166 (2018): 628-637. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.030