It’s Summer! Round of applause!!!
You complained all winter about the dreary weather and now that hibernation season is over, why are you still Netflix binging on the couch?! The sun is out and the weather is as good as it will be all year, so why not give the great outdoors some love?
As you’ve likely heard, exercise has loads of evidence on positive health benefits. Let’s spend a little time elaborating on a couple of my favorites: hiking and kayaking.
While you won’t find a large mountain to climb in IL, you will find several local and not so local parks and canyons to explore.
To name a few:
- Starved Rock
- Matthiessen State Park
- Shawnee National Forest
- Giant City State Park
- Fern Cliff State Park
- Rock Cut State Park
Health Benefits of Hiking
- Fight off heart disease. Those who do not exercise are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease.
- Lower your blood pressure. Physical activity lowers BP 4-10 points. Regaining a normal body weight can lower it 5-20 points.
- Manage and prevent diabetes. Exercise can reduce the amount of insulin needed and can potentially reverse the course of the disease for those with Type II.
- Improve your cholesterol levels.
- Lose and maintain a healthy weight.
- Decrease your risk of colon cancer.
- Fight stress. Walking releases adrenaline thus helping to decrease tension and anxiety.
- Increase bone density and slow the rate of calcium loss responsible for osteoporosis.
- Manage osteoarthritis. Motion is lotion! Walking is a low impact activity good for assisting with maintaining strong, healthy bones and muscles.
Pick a lake. Burn calories. Rest. Enjoy scenery. Repeat. All while getting tanned and toned. Who can argue with that?
Health benefits of Kayaking
- Take in extra Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones.
- Improved breathing efficiency and cardiovascular endurance.
- Decreased fat and increased lean muscle mass. Think strong arms, legs, back and core.
- De-stress. Being by water is shown to assist with relaxation and with the endorphins from exercise, it is a win-win!
Take home: regular exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on lengthening and improving the quality of our lives. You want to be around to complain about next winter right? So, what are you waiting for? Get outside!
Katie Green, PT, DPT