Off The Beaten Path

If you enjoy hiking, a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health offers suggestions for getting more out of this potentially year-round activity. The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities analyzed the hiking habits of those who stuck to paved surfaces compared to those who forged new trails out in the wild. While strolling through your neighborhood park or subdivision might be considered a safer choice, those who trekked nature trails exerted more rigorous physical effort for longer periods of time. Consequently, they also reported lower Body Mass Index values than the paved trail hikers.

The Bigger Picture: You don't have to hack your way through the jungle with a machete to get the added workout value of a hike in the woods. Following natural trails will do just fine. And the potential rewards aren't limited to burning more fat off your waistline. The sights you'll encounter out in nature are very likely to be more interesting and inspirational than anything you'll experience roaming a meticulously mowed and manicured landscape of paved streets and trails.
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