Let’s face it, trying to lose weight can be hard work. Not to mention boring! As we sweat, forcing ourselves through our exercise routine every morning, we wonder if we will stick to it as our interest fades, while thinking: “There has to be something better”. Well, there is!
Instead of working hard at losing weight, as an alfresco enthusiast I strongly suggest making it fun by engaging in an exhilarating outdoor activity. You’ll be amazed at the number of calories you’ll burn in a short time, without ever thinking about it. Whatever sport you choose, from whitewater kayaking to extreme skiing, indeed the benefits provided beat bouncing with Richard Simmons on TV!
Bask in the Benefits of Outdoor Activities
The number one benefit of exercising outdoors to lose weight is: You’ll ENJOY it, so you’ll DO it!
In addition, most sport related activities combine the benefits derived from both aerobics and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic or cardio activity is the key to burning fat. In contrast, anaerobic or resistance training builds muscle for strength and endurance.
Health professionals recommend including lots of physical activity in your weight loss program, because it offers many more benefits than dieting alone:
Disease prevention — Physical activity helps to make your heart healthy. It also aids in preventing diseases, including certain types of cancer and diabetes. Similarly, a good workout builds strong bones. These are just a few of the health benefits among many.
Mind-body connection — Not only will you build a great physique, but you’ll boost your psyche as well. Being outside in the sunshine lifts your mood and spirit. Similarly, outdoor activities like skiing and kayaking create more than a physical challenge; they also pose a mental one, simulating your mind. As you master your skills, you build confidence eagerly anticipating the next hurdle.
- Weight maintenance— Losing weight is not the end goal; you want to keep it off, right? Participating in an outdoor activity you enjoy, means you’ll do it often, stick to it over the long run, and most likely forever. As a result, outdoor activities serve as the perfect weight maintenance program.
In spite of all these benefits, we as a society have become less active. So, it’s no surprise that we are getting, yes, fatter to be frank. The average weight for a man has increased over the years to 195 lbs. / 88.5 kg and the average woman now weighs in at 164 lbs. / 74.4 kg. Let’s use these averages to explore the amazing advantages of hiking, kayaking and skiing. Keep in mind when comparing your weight to these averages, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn per hour.
Trek the Trail to Weight Loss
Hiking is an excellent aerobic exercise for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular system. In addition, if you hike on hilly terrain you’re adding resistance, which helps to build and strengthen leg muscles. During a scenic and brisk cross country hike through the park, you can easily lose over 500 calories per hour if you’re a man or slightly less—450 if you are a woman.
Accelerate your pace in intervals to increase your heart rate and put more punch into your workout. Likewise, load an Osprey Atmos 65 backpack with 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) of gear and add a few hills to climb to drop an additional 150 calories. That’s not bad for an hour of sightseeing!
Paddle the Pounds Away with Kayaking
If you love the water, then you must go kayaking! The average woman can lose half a pound from an invigorating afternoon of whitewater kayaking. A man can lose even more, around 2,200 calories. And that doesn’t take into consideration the calories you burn carrying your gear, along with your kayak before and after the adventure. This sport builds strength in your arm and upper body muscles. Not to mention it’s a great way to get rid of those unsightly love handles.
Although you’ll be tempted to take numerous breaks eyeing nature at its best, keep on paddling to bask in the weight loss benefits. If you never paddled before, you’re missing out on a lot of fun and adventure. For that reason alone, I suggest you start by checking out kayaks for sale.
Melt Inches on the Sunny Ski Slopes
Besides catching air, along with the sunshine as you carve the slopes, skiing is one great workout because it engages all of your major muscles groups — from your quads and biceps to your back, chest, and shoulders. It aces at improving your balance and stability by exercising your core muscles — the ones around your trunk and pelvis. So, it’s no surprise that you can burn a whopping 3,000 calories if you’re a man and again, a little less for a woman, after 6 hours of skiing.
If you want a real workout, try skipping the chair lift. Whether you prefer exploring uncharted mountain terrain or a pleasant on-piste downhill run, now’s the moment to get ready; grab your Patagonia down sweater and head for the slopes!
Select Your Sport and Venture Outdoors!
All things considered, losing weight in the great outdoors is, well, just so much better! Enjoy the sun, fresh air and fun. Now that you have been enticed by all the benefits of exercising outside, it’s time to pick an activity, get off the couch and do it!
About the Author: Nick Sotos is a mountaineer, climber, mountain biker, kayaker and outdoor enthusiast. He is a gear expert as he spends most of his time in the great outdoors, living the adventure. In his blog, he gives expert advice and personal experiences on outdoor gear, stores and activities.