When we think of exercise, we often default to images of the gym. The gym can be convenient, but a hike in the woods can be a much more refreshing way to enjoy physical activity. Just being outside in nature feels good, but it also has a lot of associated benefits for your work out, such as:
Outdoor activities expend more energy. A walk, run, or jog outside involves more unanticipated challenges than a treadmill or a stationary bike. Wind resistance and inclines mean that opting for the trail instead of the gym will burn more calories.
It’s more enjoyable. Studies show that people who go outside for a walk enjoy exercise more than those who use the treadmill. This typically results in longer workouts, increased satisfaction and better results.
Increased sunlight. While people do need to protect themselves against skin cancer, the American Osteopathic association poses that moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure, such as a simple walk outside with arms and legs exposed can be helpful in boosting Vitamin D. Not getting enough D can lead to fatigue, depression, memory loss and other health issues.
You can bring someone along! Spending time on the trail with a coworker, friend, or partner will have you looking forward to planning additional adventures. These outings can also lead to strengthened relationships.
While there are many benefits to working out in a park, taking a hike, and seeing new things, it is also important to stay mindful of safety. Take a buddy, carry water and snacks, wear sunscreen and a hat. If you are new to hiking or the outdoors, consider going on a guided hike with a professional to prepare you to hit the trails.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir