As I'm sure some readers are aware, I'm working as a trail builder in the southern Appalachian mountains. When I started this job all of my clothes were a little snug. I wasn't in the best shape, but I was getting there when I joined up. Over the last two months I've slimmed up. Hiking pants that were too tight fit well now, and I've had to switch to a belt that was nearly too small to use at the start. My hiking pace has increased and my stamina is getting better. Below are some of my thoughts on the more general benefits of being outside a lot.
First off nearly everything about the outside challenges your body. It has to adjust to varying temperature, unexpected rain, insect bites and introduced allergens. Now though any of those that hit you too hard can be harmful, but the minor stresses exposure to all of these can cause help builds up and harden you against future allergens. The varying temperature will help kick start your metabolism, especially colder temperatures. Though, as with anything in the outdoors be safe and have some common sense, and stay hydrated out there.
Secondly, hiking with a bit of extra weight is great endurance training. At first I was dying to just get through the scouting. When the first hitch came around we had to hike in everything 5 miles to the primary base camp. Needless to say it was a great strain on someone as out of shape as me. As time has progressed, having to hike multiple miles to work every day while at work has let me shed the pounds and really appreciate the metabolism boost hikers get. Obviously this isn't practical for most people, but a friend of mine got a puppy and has to take him hiking two or three times a week. A good day hike once or twice a week could be a lot more practical for most people. Again just be safe and hydrated out there!
Thirdly being in the outdoors is a great way to disconnect from everything. Now I'm not exactly the best at this, but I do manage to leave my phone alone for a most hours of the day. Its pretty nice to just hop on, check everything and chatting with friends for a bit.
There's gonna be a few bigger updates coming out in the next month! Finally things are settling down with the schedule and I'll be back to updating all of this more frequently. Stay safe out there!