It’s no secret that guys love the great outdoors. Hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting are all popular activities for men of all ages. In fact, according to Statista, as of June 2022, the most popular outdoor activities among Americans are running, jogging, and trail running.
And there’s a good reason for that — studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a profound effect on mental and physical health. For instance, being in the sun has been shown to boost vitamin D levels, which is essential for bone health. And research has shown that being around plants and animals can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall mood.
In addition, outdoor activities often require physical exertion, which helps to keep the body fit and strong. And because they are usually done in groups or with family and friends, they can also help to improve social bonds.
So if you’re looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, here are five outdoor activities that will get you moving:
One of the best things about hiking is that it can be done anywhere. Whether in the mountains, the woods, or even your local park, there are plenty of trails to explore. And because it’s a low-impact activity, it’s gentle on the joints and muscles.
Before you head out, be sure to prepare the following:
- Sturdy, comfortable shoes — Look for shoes with good traction and support. If you are hiking in rocky or uneven terrain, consider investing in a pair of hiking boots.
- Map of the area — This is especially important if you’re hiking in unfamiliar territory. Be sure to also bring a compass and a flashlight, just in case you get lost.
- Plenty of water — Dehydration is a danger when hiking, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to bring at least a half-gallon (2 liters) per person.
- Snacks and lunch — Pack some high-energy snacks like nuts or trail mix and a hearty lunch to keep your energy levels up.
- First-aid kit — This should include items like antiseptic wipes, bandages, and pain relievers.
- Flashlight or headlamp — Again, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A flashlight or headlamp can be a lifesaver if you’re hiking in the evening or early morning.
If you’re new to hiking, start with an easy trail and build up to more difficult ones. And remember, take your time — there’s no rush to reach the top. The goal is to enjoy the journey and get some exercise along the way.
Biking is another great way to get outside and get some exercise. It’s a great cardio workout, and it’s also a lot of fun. You can bike alone or with friends, and there are plenty of trails and paths to explore.
Before you hit the road, make sure you have the following:
- Comfortable, well-fitting bike — Make sure the bike is the right size for you. You should be able to sit on the seat with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Helmet — This is non-negotiable. Always wear a helmet when biking, no matter how short the distance.
- Repair kit — A flat tire can ruin a good bike ride, so bring along a repair kit. This should include a spare tube, a pump, and tire levers.
- Water bottle — Bikers are also prone to dehydration, so drink regularly throughout the ride.
If you’re new to biking, remember to go easy, relax, and connect with nature. Also, make sure to follow all the rules of the road, and be respectful of other cyclists and pedestrians.
Fishing is another activity that can be done in a variety of settings. Whether you’re fly-fishing in a river, lake, or pond, the tranquility of being out in nature can be very relaxing. And because it requires patience and concentration, it can also help to clear your mind and ease stress.
Before you head out, make sure you have the following:
- Fishing rod, lures, and reel — If you don’t have your own, you can usually rent one at the local bait and tackle shop.
- Fishing license — You’ll need a license if you plan to fish in freshwater. Check the regulations in your area, as there are usually different rules for saltwater fishing.
- Fishing apparel — This includes items like waders (if you’re fishing in a river or stream), a hat, and sunglasses. You’ll also need a good pair of shoes or boots with good traction.
- Net and pliers — These will come in handy for removing hooks and landing fish.
- Cooler — This is for transporting your catch, so pack it with ice.
If you’re new to fishing, plenty of resources are available to help you get started. You can find helpful tips online or ask a friend or family member who is experienced.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-pumping outdoor activity, skiing or snowboarding may be for you. These activities are great exercise and offer a chance to enjoy the beauty of winter.
Before hitting the slopes, make sure you have the following:
- Ski or snowboard — If you don’t have your own, you can usually rent one at the ski resort.
- Boots — You’ll need a good pair of boots that fit snugly and offer support.
- Ski poles — These will help you keep your balance and control your speed.
- Appropriate clothing — This includes items like a ski jacket, pants, gloves, and a hat. You’ll want to dress in layers so you can adjust to the changing temperature.
- Goggles or sunglasses — These will protect your eyes from the sun and snow glare.
If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, plenty of beginner-friendly slopes are available. And most resorts offer lessons for those just starting out.
No matter what outdoor activity you choose, getting outside and being active is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. These are just a few suggestions — there are plenty of other activities to explore. So get out there and have some fun.