If the hustle and bustle of daily life is catching up with you, getting out of the city to camp, hike and explore is a great way to let your mind unwind.
But the perks of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing and paddleboarding don’t stop with the scenic views and fresh air. These outdoor activities are also powerful workouts that can:
• Reduce your risk of heart disease
• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Boost bone density
• Help control weight
• Improve balance
• Strengthen your core
Hiking builds strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and muscles in your hips and lower legs. The number of calories burned when hiking depends on body weight, but in general, a person who weighs 160 pounds can burn as much as 440 calories per hour of hiking.
Mountain biking is a term that encompasses a variety of biking styles, and like any exercise, the number of calories burned depends on body weight. Some calculations suggest that a 145-pound woman could burn as many as 520 calories per hour of mountain biking on moderately difficult terrain.
Kayaking strengthens your arms and shoulders, naturally, but you might be surprised to know that it will also work muscles in your lower back, core and even your legs. It’s estimated that a 200-pound person burns about 450 calories per hour while kayaking.
Rock climbing will give your arms and shoulders a major workout, but you’ll also strengthen your back, core and lower body by scaling rock walls, whether indoor or outdoor. Rock climbing can burn anywhere form 500 to 900 calories per hour.
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is on the level of kayaking in terms of an upper body workout, but it works your lower body more consistently. SUP is a cardio workout that builds endurance, strength and balance. Some experts suggest 30 minutes of SUP is equivalent to running six miles! The average-sized person will burn as much as 300 calories per hour of SUP (the more wind and waves, the more calories you’ll burn).
Are you ready to get outside? Here’s a guide to some of the best spots in North Texas to explore the great outdoors:
Ray Roberts Lake State Park: Situated on a 3,000-acre reservoir just north of Denton, Ray Roberts Lake State Park offers primitive camping, miles of hiking trails, equestrian trails, biking, a clean beach for swimming and easy lake access for fishing and boating.
Eisenhower State Park: A 423-acre state park located on the scenic shores of Lake Texoma on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, Eisenhower State Park offers camping, biking, swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing.
Cedar Hill State Park: Just southwest of downtown Dallas and adjacent to the scenic Joe Pool Lake is Cedar Hill State Park, which offers visitors camping, fishing and boating, and trails for mountain biking and hiking.