Outdoor living automatically stimulates a sense of health and well-being simply by (presumably) detaching from the constant distractions of daily modern life, reverting to simple living sans technology, getting breaths of fresh air, and being (at least somewhat) physically active.
However, it’s also easy to forget about fitness while embracing the wanderlust of the great outdoors. Below are 5 tips I picked up working as a wilderness guide to stay strong and in shape while living and/or working outside.
The importance of hydration is well known. The general recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. This becomes even more vital living under the sun and embracing whatever other weather conditions come your way. Drinking plenty of water will not only help keep your body in the best shape possible, but also your mind and your mood which in turn will keep you active and create a positive snowball effect in the direction of health!
2. Eat Healthy
It’s not always easy to eat healthy while living and working in the woods. Making healthy foods your standard can help. While fresh fruits and vegetables are heavy and difficult to lug around, there are many brands of fruit and vegetable powders that are healthy and delicious that can easily become a part of your daily routine. Whole grains like rice and quinoa are easy to boil and prepare on most basic camp stoves as well. Meat and salmon jerkies are great nonperishable protein options for meat eaters. Nut butters such as almond or peanut butter are great sources of fat that are easy to haul around and stimulate slow releasing energy that will keep you satiated. Many other healthy food options come in nonperishable, light weight, powdered forms (believe it or not) just be sure to read the ingredients and keep an eye out for and avoid unfamiliar or unfavorable preservatives.
3. Eat Often
Eating regularly can not only help keep you full and your mood elevated but also ties back into hydration. If you’re eating often, you’re replacing the electrolytes your body is losing through sweating and other means. Replacing these electrolytes is vital to retain water. Keeping snacks handy and readily available helps promote this healthy habit.
4. Move More
This might seem like the last thing you want to do after a long hike from campsite to campsite, an epic day of climbing, paddling, mountain biking, etc. However, most outdoor activities on their own are not sufficient in keeping your whole body strong, flexible, and balanced. It’s important to regularly push all of your muscles through their full range of motion (preferably against resistance) to maintain strength, endurance, flexibility, and all other elements of fitness. Research ways to physically balance out your outdoor activity of choice and plan to spend just ten extra minutes a day keeping your musculoskeletal system on point!
5. Plan Ahead
Make sure your schedule allows for these things to happen. Make healthy your default and incorporate these healthy behaviors into your routine. Otherwise, they are unlikely to happen. Schedule time to eat healthy snacks, do extra stretching or balancing exercises, drink water, etc. Ensure that you have all the materials you need to make this happen as well, be it a big water bottle, an abundance of your favorite powered fruit and vegetable blend, the best tasting healthy meal bars imaginable, or a pocket list of corrective exercises for your outdoor sport. Find what promotes a sense of health for you and make it happen! Prepare to have no excuses and most importantly, have fun!
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