Category: Fitness

Eco-Friendly Outdoor Activities

Months spent indoors avoiding the harsh weather outside makes winter a difficult season for people who love the great outdoors. While skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports make it possible to get some fresh air even when that air is frigid, many people find it difficult to consistently get outside when temperatures drop.

That difficulty no doubt contributes to the popularity of spring, a season widely seen as a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Time spent in the great outdoors is often its own reward. But taking measures to be eco-friendly while spending time outside can make such leisure time even more rewarding. People who want to get out and be eco-friendly at the same time can try the following activities.

Cycling

Cycling is a fun activity that’s also great exercise and incredibly eco-friendly. While it’s certainly an enjoyable leisure activity, cycling also can provide a great alternative to more popular modes of transportation like driving. According to Bay Area Bike to Work Day, a movement dedicated to promoting cycling as a means of commuting to and from work, drivers of small vehicles (those that get 35 miles per gallon of gas) who commute 10 miles per day, five days a week can expect to consume 68 gallons of gas in a typical year during their commutes. During those commutes, their vehicles will produce 0.7 tons of CO2. SUV drivers will consume nearly double that amount of fuel while their vehicles produce nearly three times as much CO2 emissions. Cycling to work won’t consume any fuel or produce any emissions, and cyclists won’t be forced to sit idly in rush hour traffic.

Hiking

Hiking is another eco-friendly outdoor activity that can pay dividends for both the planet and the people who call it home. Lawmakers in towns and cities with thriving hiking communities may be encouraged to support legislation that preserves hiking trails and parks and prevent potentially harmful construction from taking place. And individuals can reap a number of benefits from hiking through the great outdoors. A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that outdoor exercise such as hiking can decrease feelings of tension, confusion, anger, and depression. In addition, hiking provides a great full-body workout that might appeal to people who have grown tired of more traditional gym-based fitness regimens.

Fishing

Fishing devotees tend to be wildly devoted to their craft, but one need not be an expert angler to enjoy fishing and help the planet. According to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, fishing supports wildlife and fisheries management. The DGIF notes that anglers help to set seasons and creel limits, ensuring that wildlife populations remain stable and even flourish. Many anglers also find fishing is a great form of stress relief that provides a peaceful escape from the daily grind.

Running/walking

In lieu of running or walking on a treadmill indoors, men and women can get outside and do their jogging or walking in the great outdoors. While treadmills are not necessarily big energy consumers, running or walking outdoors consumes no energy and provides a great opportunity to spend time outside, especially for professionals who spend most of their days in office buildings.

The great outdoors comes calling for many people when temperatures begin to climb. Answering that call can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your mood.

How to Find Time for Fitness

Many adults admit to having little or no time to exercise, and statistics support the notion that men and women simply aren’t exercising enough. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 21 percent of adults ages 18 and older met the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity (Note: The World Health Organization recommends that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, while also performing muscle-strengthening activities involving the major muscle groups at least two days per week.)

Commitments to work and family can make it hard to find time to visit the gym or exercise at home. But the benefits of regular exercise are so substantial that even the busiest adults should make concerted efforts to find time to exercise. The following are a handful of ways to do just that.

· Embrace multitasking. Many professionals are adept at multi-tasking in the office, and those same skills can be applied when trying to find time for exercise. Instead of plopping down on the couch to watch television, bring a tablet to the gym or the basement and stream a favorite show while on the treadmill or the elliptical. When running errands around town, ride a bicycle or walk instead of driving.

· Cut down on screen time. A 2016 report from The Nielsen Company revealed that the average adult in the United States spent more than 10 hours each day consuming media. That includes time spent using smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and other devices. By reducing that screen time by just one hour per day, adults can create enough free time to meet the WHO-recommended exercise requirements.

· Make it a group effort. Involving others can make it easier for adults to find time to exercise. Instead of hosting work meetings in a conference room, take the meeting outside, walking around the office complex while discussing projects rather than sitting stationary around a conference table. At home, take the family along to the gym or go for nightly post-dinner walks around the neighborhood instead of retiring to the living room to watch television.

· Redefine date night. Adults who can’t find time for exercise during the week can redefine date night with their significant others. Instead of patronizing a local restaurant on Friday or Saturday night, enroll in a fitness class together. Parents can still hire babysitters to look after their youngsters while they go burn calories instead of packing them on at local eateries.

Finding time to exercise can be difficult for busy adults. But those committed to getting healthier can find ways to do so even when their schedules are booked.