Camping, Hiking, or Riding the Mountain Bike — Which One is the Best Outdoor Activity?
You’re on a journey in becoming a fit, well-rounded, healthy person but as opposed to hitting the gym and taking up Zumba classes or pushing yourself through CrossFit, you want to explore the outdoors instead.
While there are a lot of options for outdoor physical activity, there are three that stand out: mountain biking, hiking, and camping. These three activities allow you to grind, sweat, but at the same time reconnect with nature and enjoy the breath-taking views.
Thinking about which one to try this weekend? Here is some insight on these three:
Camping is the least exercise-y activity among the three, but it is beneficial to your health in so many ways. In a way, choosing to break away from the city’s hustle and bustle and basking in nature is a great stress reliever and will allow you to gain a new perspective on things.
Besides this, here are some of the other things you might enjoy in camping:
- Cool breeze/fresh, unadulterated air: Rarely do you breathe fresh air in the metro and camping away from the city gives you unlimited access to fresh air, thanks to trees producing more oxygen in the air. Not only do inhale goodness—breathing fresh camp air helps improve your mood and helps you de-stress because of the release of serotonin in your blood due to more oxygen in your body.
- More time to spend with your loved ones/friends: Chances are, you will not be camping alone—there will be other people wanting to experience outdoor living like you do, which makes camping also a great time for you to bring your family or friends with you. In a way, camping with family or friends will keep your mind and relationships healthy.
Hiking is a form of fun outdoor exercise which, surprisingly, has plenty of science-backed health benefits. Among the research-backed benefits of hiking, these are the most significant:
- Blood pressure and blood sugar control
- Heart disease risk-lowering
- Bone density boosting (considering that it is a form of a weight-bearing exercise)
- Combating stress and anxiety
Apparently, spending more time with nature and in green spaces not only encourages peace and calm but also inspires your body to heal and recoup from stress.
Hiking trails vary in intensity though, so make sure to do even just a slight research on a specific local trail you’re planning to hike. If possible, start slow and traverse low-impact trails first before moving on to extreme terrains.
Riding the mountain bike or cycling, like the other two outdoor activities, is equally enjoyable yet more challenging. Biking requires balance and vast amounts of leg power, especially when navigating the uphill terrain.
Regular bikers are no stranger to the health benefits of biking. Here are gains associated with this outdoor activity:
- Building muscle and fat elimination: Biking tones your leg muscles (including your gluteal, arm and shoulder muscles) and assists in fat burning and weight loss.
- Cycling produces happy hormones: Like any sweat-inducing activity, biking helps release endorphins and stress-busting hormones. Plus, the gusts of wind and the scenic views help in inducing calmer in you.
- Mountain biking helps prevent chronic diseases: Given that cycling is an aerobic exercise, it helps maintain normal blood pressure, good cardiovascular health, and normal blood sugar levels.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter what outdoor activity you choose, as long as you engage in exploring the great outdoors and increase your physical activity. There are plenty of internet resources that can help you get started on any of these activities—just browse the web before you embark on any of these activities (hiking, camping or riding the mountain bike), and you’ll find a lot of suggestions and how-tos to help you on your fitness journey.