The Physical Benefits of Outdoor Activities
Outdoor enthusiasts worldwide can confirm that the outside hobbies they love benefit their health. Spending time in the great outdoors can do wonders for your mind and body. Anyone and everyone can participate in some kind of outdoor activity. Whether you’re hiking, camping, kayaking, or on a leisurely stroll, it will help improve your health.
A body in motion stays in motion! Here are some tips on how being active in the outdoors can benefit your physical health.
Walking Boosts Your Immune System and Much More
You’re probably familiar with the whole mantra that walking every day can help you burn calories and lose weight. However, that’s not the only thing it can do! Walking has a whole host of physical benefits that can all-around improve your health.
Get Sick Less
You can keep colds at bay during the season if you go for walks outside a few days a week. Even for as little as 20 minutes a day, it can bolster your immune system. If you do catch a cold the symptoms will be milder, and it will last shorter than someone who doesn’t go for walks regularly.
Prevent Different Cancers
Regular strolls outside can decrease the risk of some cancers like lung cancer and breast cancer. Walking significantly decreases the risk of lung cancer in many people and can reduce the severity of other lung diseases and asthma symptoms.
For women especially, walking a few hours a week can decrease the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Even if you are someone who has a higher risk of developing it, you can counteract that risk by walking several days a week.
Relieve Joint Pain
It may sound counterintuitive, but walking can ease arthritis and joint pain. You can even prevent arthritis entirely if you regularly walk a few miles every week. The reason why it helps to relieve the pain or prevents these issues from forming is that walking lubricates the joints and strengthens the muscles.
Your hips and knees are especially at risk from joint issues because they experience the most wear and strain. Keeping them strong is important for your overall health and quality of life.
Hiking Improves Your Cardiovascular Health
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities around and it comes with a lot of physical benefits. Not only does it improve your muscle fitness, but your bones, heart, blood pressure, and much more can benefit from hiking.
Strengthens Your Heart
Going for hikes on trails that gain elevation or going up and down hills will strengthen your heart. It forces the heart to pump harder to ensure your muscles are well-oxygenated and strong as you climb. This activity and exercise for your heart can significantly decrease the risks of heart disease and other related heart issues that can happen.
Builds Strong Muscles and Bones
It should go without saying that hiking can improve your overall fitness. It requires strength and endurance to reach the summit of any mountain. Hiking regularly can tone the muscles of your legs and your core.
Your core is activated to maintain balance on uneven trails so you get the dual benefit of stronger abdominal muscles and better balance. Unlike your average workout, hiking can be a lot of fun and rewarding. You get mental benefits as well as physical ones.
Increased blood pressure is an issue for a vast majority of adults. It is even referred to as the “silent killer”. Managing your blood pressure is imperative to your health and quality of life.
Going for hikes can help lower your blood pressure, burn calories, and strengthen your muscles. All of which can affect hypertension. Hiking can lower your blood pressure by 5 to 10 points and if you lose weight while doing so it can decrease it by another 6 to 20 points.
Use Trekking Poles or a Walking Stick
When talking about hiking or taking more casual strolls it is important to mention the use of trekking poles or walking sticks. They are a huge help and a great tool for a majority of people, young and old.
This piece of gear can extend how far you are able to walk and hike by miles. They offer stability and can prevent injuries as well as assist those with a recovering injury, or who have difficulty walking.
They can also increase the aerobic side of your walk by engaging your arm and chest muscles. Hiking poles are an essential piece of equipment you should consider.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Camping?
As another incredibly popular outdoor hobby, camping can improve your physical health too. Camping involves several different activity possibilities all in one. When you go camping you can set up your campsite and then go on day hikes during your stay. You can go kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, and more.
Camping offers you a lot in ways of activity, health, and mental clarity. If you want to know more about the mental health benefits of camping click here.
Let’s focus on the physical improvements you’ll notice when you start camping.
Increase Your Levels of Vitamin D
When you’re camping you’re spending nearly all of the time outdoors. This means you’ll be able to take in a lot of vitamin D from being out in the sun. Remember this should come in moderation and be sure to use sunscreen to prevent sunburns.
The increase in vitamin D bolsters your immune system so you’re less susceptible to illnesses and colds. Another large benefit is that it increases your serotonin levels which helps to relieve stress.
The serotonin your body makes during the day directly correlates with the amount of melatonin it produces at night too. This means you’ll be able to sleep easier and better.
Fresh Air Enhances Your Memory
This applies as much to camping as well as walking and hiking. An extended amount of time spent in nature and in the outdoors has proven to improve your memory. It’s easier to recall things because the fresh air helps to clear your thoughts. The production of serotonin can contribute to this and it is great for your brain health.
There are a whole host of benefits that come from getting outside and spending time in the sun and in nature. Staying active and enjoying even simple activities like a walk can improve your quality of life, increase the longevity of your life, and overall improve your physical health. Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!
About the author:
Paul is a software engineer with a passion for the outdoors. When he first started camping he always felt frustrated because many things can initially seem tough (e.g. trouble sleeping in a tent, bugs), but he gradually found solutions for each of the problems, and started enjoying the trips. That’s why created cutecamper.com - to help other beginners come to similar solutions. He loves sharing his tips and guides to help people enhance their outdoor experiences.
Written By: Paul Wilson