Both walking and running produce endorphins, or brain chemicals that make you feel happy and confident. And a regular running or walking program lowers your risk of life-threatening maladies such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Among the benefits of walking, it’s a low-impact exercise that produces less stress on the knees and joints than many other activities. And running burns more calories in less time than almost any other continuous exercise. Plus, both can be social activities — perfect for your next camping trip, as long as you keep social distancing in mind.
Hiking has almost too many health benefits to list. But don’t worry. I won’t put you to sleep by trying to list them all. And fortunately, many campsites offer various hiking trails to explore. Hiking can help to improve cardio-respiratory strength including heart, lungs, and blood vessels. And hitting the trail can improve muscle strength, bone density (or slow its loss), sleep quality, and weight control. On average, hiking can burn up to 250 calories an hour. And people who lose weight through hiking or walking generally maintain the loss and continue to lose, while those who depend on diets tend to gain the weight back. And if that wasn’t enough to get you out on the trail, hiking can reduce your risk for cancer and depression, while reducing the negative effects of osteoporosis, arthritis, and anxiety.
Another great feature of camping is that you can bring your bike along. Who says you can’t enjoy the sights while getting a workout? Don’t own a bike? Many campgrounds offer bicycle rentals. And the best part is that bike riding strengthens your thighs, hips, and rear end. If your route includes climbing hills, your arms and upper body will benefit as you stand to pedal. And cycling is gentle on your joints and can help to preserve cartilage. That’s especially beneficial for those who suffer from knee troubles, back pain, or impact-related injuries. While bicycle riding is both fun and great for your health, just be sure to take some precautions to make each ride as safe as possible. Wear a helmet, be visible, and obey traffic rules for a fun and safe ride.
Marco polo! Ready for a workout for everyone? Swimming is a great recreational activity for people of all ages that provides a great low-impact workout. And since you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water, you can count it as full-body exercise. As a low-impact fitness activity, swimming can keep your heart rate up. And it takes some of the impact stress off your body — which makes it a great exercise for those with injuries and certain health conditions. Swimming also builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight while toning muscles and building strength — look for a campsite with a swimming pool or lake. And after you get those laps in, pat yourself on the back because swimming can also help to alleviate stress and improve balance, posture, and flexibility.
5) Outdoor Games
Sometimes you just want to stay close to the campsite. That’s when it time to break out the camping games to toss the Frisbee or play a round of volleyball. Most campgrounds have an area with lots of open space -perfect for badminton, mini-golf, or maybe even just tossing the football around. While it may not be as intense as mountain biking or hiking, you can still burn calories while palling around with friends. The average 140 lb person can expect to burn 175 calories in just 30 minutes of Ultimate Frisbee, while the average 180 lb person can expect to burn 225. Not too bad for hanging out with friends. And the benefits of outdoor recreation include decreased anxiety, reduced blood pressure, and less risk of depression.
Most importantly, being outdoors is good for the soul. Show me a person who doesn’t like the outdoors, and I’ll show you someone who needs to learn how to relax. Yeah, I said it. And now with our post Coronavirus world, it’s important to find ways to stay fit while maintaining social distance. Enter the great outdoors. From walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, and just playing around — you can’t beat nature when it comes to getting or staying fit. So do yourself a favor, and try a camping weekend. Your soul will thank you. Just be sure to pack some bug spray.