Nothing can make an outing less enjoyable than showing up to the trailhead out of shape. Veteran hikers and backpackers know that they will need a reservoir of energy and stamina to fully enjoy the wilderness. Staying physically fit is something every hiker needs to do but often has a difficult time fitting into their busy days. But does it require a gym membership or a punishing running schedule? Happily, the answer is no. Just play outside.
Five ways to play yourself into shape.
- Walk or jog around your neighborhood. Invite a family member or a neighbor along. Walking and jogging area great was to reduce stress and improve lung capability. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get into the routine of a daily walk.
- Volunteer to do the yard work. Whatever the weather, there is always something that needs done outside your home. Mowing, shoveling, and gardening all will help you build muscle and burn calories. Live in an apartment or a condo? Offer to assist an elderly neighbor with their chores.
- Your bike can take you almost anywhere. Not only does bike riding provide great exercise and build a strong cardio system, it allows you to get out and enjoy the fresh air. But don’t forget to wear your helmet.
- Swimming is a great way to get into and stay in shape. If you don’t already know how to swim, consider taking lessons. You never know when you might need those swimming skills in the backcountry.
- Toss around a ball or Frisbee with someone you enjoy spending time with. Children will have fun practicing their hand eye coordination while you improve your balance and flexibility.
Make it your goal to engage in an outdoor fitness activity several times a week. So next time someone calls and asks you if you can come out and play, tell them YES.
Note: Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.