Go Hiking: It’s Better For You Than You Thought

Not feeling healthy? Go hiking. Two new studies from the UK show that a hike, or even a good walk around the city streets, boosts mental and physical health.

A new survey by Ramblers, the British walking charity, found that a quarter of adults in Britain walk for an hour or less a week. And when they’re talking about walking, they don’t mean hitting the trails in the local nature reserve, they mean all types of walking, including walking to the shops, work or school. Presumably walking to the fridge to get another lager isn’t included. Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, a staggering 43 percent said they walked for only two hours or less a week.

The Ramblers cites government health advisers who recommend that you get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Walking counts in this, and is one of the easiest ways to get fit. Not only does it reduce the risk of several physical ailments like heart disease, it reduces weight and improves mental activity and emotional well being. It also saves money on gas and public transport.
The British Heart Foundation has more details on their webpage.

Another new study shows that being outside more is more beneficial than we generally think. While many people worry about the harmful effects of the sun, a new study by Edinburgh University has found that UV rays cause the body to produce nitric oxide, a compound that reduces blood pressure. Researchers suspect that the benefits of exposure to the sun may outweigh the risks.

[Photo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]

No Wrong Turns: Staying Fit on the Road

Traveling often involves lugging around a heavy backpack and suffering from a variety of stomach illnesses. This combination usually keeps the ol’ waistline in check, even though it might not be the healthiest way.

I am a bit of a fitness nut…hold the eye-rolling for a sec, I have a valid reason. I studied Kinesiology in university and have seen firsthand the benefits of an active lifestyle and the effects of an unhealthy one. Plus, I really do like how I feel after a workout. OK now you can roll your eyes.

When we started to plan our driving adventure I began to wonder about how I could maintain my fitness level since I knew we would be spending a lot of time sitting in the car. I decided to pack some gear that would assist me in the quest for fit travel. My fitness bag includes:

  • running shoes
  • a set of workout clothes
  • a resistance band
  • a binder with a few workout routines I like in it
  • an exercise DVD

I whole-heartedly believe that you can be fit without having a gym membership; I think it is just a little harder. One can run pretty much anywhere, though at times you will get odd looks from the locals and you might have to out run a dog or two. If you have your computer, as I do, you can play a workout DVD anywhere, all you need is a little space. And if push comes to shove a few old-school exercises, like sit-ups and push-ups, will do the trick.

One of my cousins is a personal trainer and recommended mypypeline.com to me. It brings fitness to you, anywhere in the world. You can choose to focus on activities you prefer, like circuit training or yoga. There are personal trainers available to help motivate you and a slew of exercise videos available for download, for a small fee. Load these videos to your ipod and you can literally work out anywhere anytime. A large fitness community can be found here which provides support and assistance for those looking to start a fitness routine or those looking for new exercise ideas.

Though I just about upchucked my breakfast after my first workout in about a month. I have decided to shoot for cardio workouts three times a week and I will be attempting to surf soon, which should add up to about three weeks worth of exercise and two months worth of saltwater burps.

All in the name of a healthy lifestyle.

“No Wrong Turns” chronicles Kelsey and her husband’s road trip — in real time — from Canada to the southern tip of South America in their trusty red VW Golf named Marlin.