Gyming is a great way to keep in shape, but Mother Nature, too, can provide the same fitness benefits while invigorating your senses naturally. Proof? A recent study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases negative thoughts by a significant margin. The researchers noted that increased urbanization closely correlates with increased instances some form of mental illness. Here are our three recommended outdoor activities that can help burn those calories while refreshing your senses.
According to fitness experts, an hour of trekking can burn up to 500 calories* (depending on the inclination levels and whether or not you carry a backpack).
Hiking is an aerobic workout that promotes cardiovascular health. It also builds good lower body strength and strengthens upper body muscles when done regularly with the use of hiking poles.
Trekking uphill can help lower cholesterol and reduce dangers associated with diabetes and stroke. Walking downhill, on the other hand, is known to be twice as effective at controlling blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance. Our top advice is to use proper gear to avoid injuries as you walk downhill.
Brisk walking can decrease mental fatigue effectively. Evidence shows that hiking aids treatment of depression and anxiety as it promotes concentration rather than rumination.
Start small and build up to longer treks to avoid injuries.
Practise hiking with small weights for maximum calorie-burning benefits.
Prepare for emergencies and ensure you have sufficient water, snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit.
Use a buddy system - having someone in the event something unexpected happens is extremely important, and it is always more fun with a friend around.
Where To Go
Gasing Hill/Bukit Gasing Forest Park - Petaling Jaya
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) – Kepong
Mount Tok Wan/Gunung Tok Wan – Semenyih
Bukit Tabur/ Tabur West & East Hill – Taman Melawati, Selangor
Mount Nuang – Janda Baik, Pahang
Mount Angsi – Negeri Sembilan
2) White water rafting
Rafting is an awesome way to get fit. Malaysia is blessed with many rivers, and we have the perfect weather to enjoy the sport any time.
Rivers in Malaysia are graded based on an international system and range from Class 1-6 (easiest to difficult).
Rafting is suitable for most age groups and is a good way to escape the city and experience lush greenery.
White water rafts are different from boats/kayaks and are usually supervised by trained instructors to avoid unprofessional handling.
As risks are common in the sport, following instructions properly, wearing safety vests and having the right gear will minimise injuries.
Rafting is a team sport and is fantastic for building physical endurance and core muscles. On average, approximately an hour of the activity will help burn about 340 calories*.
This sport is also a natural mood booster. A study found rafting to offer psychological advantages like relaxation and sense of achievement.
Start out slow and wear proper wet gear.
Find a certified operator to ensure the best safety.
Travel light - carry a protective case for your belongings.
Keep the adventurous side alive and smile even if you get tossed into the rapids unexpectedly.
Where To Go
Kuala Kubu Baru River – Selangor
Ulu Slim River – Perak
Sungai Itek/ Sungai Kampar – Perak
Sungai Sedim – Kedah
Singoh River – Perak
Jeram Besu – Pahang
Sungai Nenggiri – Kelantan
Sungai Padas - Sabah
3) Rock climbing
Rock climbing is an excellent way to keep the mind engaged and build physical strength as well as flexibility.
This sport is suitable for both adults and kids. Generally, anyone can try it since there are various levels, but kids would require proper supervision.
According to National Health Service UK (NHS), climbing effectively works out numerous muscle groups – both upper and lower body. It builds overall strength your back, abdominal and leg muscles as well as your ﬁngers, shoulders and arms are used in every movement.
Regular climbing can also improve stamina. In addition, all the reaching and stretching for holds improves ﬂexibility.
An hour of climbing (depending on the route and level of difficulty) can easily burn over 700 calories*.
Rock climbing also enhances analytical and problem-solving skills, because climbing requires focus and agility.
From a mental standpoint, climbing also helps a person to conquer and overcome certain fears. It helps build a stronger mind and promotes good self-confidence over time.
Train in a good climbing gym and learn basics to build familiarity.
Always keep equipment in good condition, the last thing you want is an accident while balancing on a cliff.
Invest in good shoes and chalk to avoid slipping while climbing.
Physical exercise through mountain hiking in high-risk suicide patients. A randomized crossover trial|Sturm J, Plöderl M, Fartacek C, Kralovec K, Neunhäuserer D, Niederseer D, Hitzl W, Niebauer J, Schiepek G, Fartacek R.| Suicide Prevention Research Program, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg, Austria
Perceived psychosocial benefits associated with perceived restorative potential of wilderness river-rafting trips |Garg, R., Couture, R.T., Ogryzlo,T., et al. Department of Pyschology, University Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
www.pnas.corg (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) http://www.collective-evolution.com Center for Biotechnology Information U.S. National Library of Medicine http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness www.theguardian.com www.vertical-adventure.com www.rockclimbing.com www.lonely planet.com http://thesmartlocal.com/read/hiking-trails
The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.