Itching to get outside, but not quite sure what you want to do? Here are five reasons to go for the easy grab and just take a hike.
It’s a mental and physical chill pill
In a study by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, researchers found that trial subjects who exercised outdoors experienced greater feelings of mental well-being, increased energy and more positive engagement than those who worked out inside.
Plus, according to a report in the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives” as outlined by “Time” magazine, outdoor exercise in urban areas with high air-pollution levels trumps the negative health effects that breathing in bad air might have. The study showed longer life spans for those who took to the outdoors even in polluted areas.
It’ll break up your workout schedule
If you belong to a gym that offers everything from Zumba to spinning, but you still head straight for the elliptical, you may be suffering from workout apathy.
The solution? Take a hike.
It’s low-impact exercise that will get your heart rate pumping and work muscles you may not be hitting on the treadmill. Varying terrain and trail-blocking obstacles such as rocks and logs cause you to fully extend and flex muscles that keep your legs, butt and core strong.
If you choose a moderate day hike, you may not need to shell out any extra cash; your gym sneakers should do the trick.
At most all you’ll need is a pair of hiking boots with ankle support, a daypack and a water bottle. In fact, expensive workout gear might even warrant giggles from fellow hikers, so stick with clothes you can get dirty.
You can’t beat the scenery
Face it: Running toward a sunset dipping below tree line sure beats running toward the TVs above the treadmill (which is somehow always tuned to the Weather Channel for some reason).
Hiking is a group sport
No one ever took his or her significant other on a romantic walk at the gym.
Hiking is a memory-making group activity, and studies have shown that exercising with a loved one makes your bond even stronger. Plus, if the date’s going badly, there are more places to hide.