It’s no secret that exercise makes you healthier and tones your body; but working out also makes you happier by producing endorphins and boosting your self-confidence. Combine that with benefits being in a natural setting gives you- a breath of unpolluted air, a break from the sounds of the city, and a chance to break away from population density- and you’re set up for a relaxing and restorative activity. Read on for three fabulous, stress-relieving summer activities that every classy co-ed should try!
Hiking. The most simple and economic activity of all outdoor fun, hiking is a fantastic workout for your legs that doesn’t require any special equipment. Just find a county or state park near you- nearly every single one will have at least a few miles of hiking trails. Throw on your running shoes (or hiking boots, if you have them!) and hit the trail for an hour or two. You’ll be amazed by how long it takes you to miss the sounds of cars driving by. Planning tip: Many parks charge a vehicle entry fee, usually $5-$10 per day. Ask for a map of the park at entrance booth to find trailheads, as well as where to park.
Kayaking or Canoeing . While the chlorine-soaked pool of your student apartment is refreshing after a long, hot day on campus, there’s nothing like floating on a river or lake to balance your chi. You’ll be able to spot wildlife both in the water and on the shores, as well as listen to the flow of the water and enjoy a fun ride. These are also both upper body workouts, something that we ladies often don’t get enough of. To plan your watery adventure, use nearby state and county park websites to determine which ones have water access and offer canoe and kayak rentals. Planning tip: Rental fees can start as low as $12, depending on the estimated time to complete the route. Call your parks and recreation department to find out the exact fees and whether or not you’ll need to reserve a vessel before you get there. Also, safety first please- always wear a life jacket (usually provided by the rental service).
Geocaching. In the wide world of outdoor fun, this is the most high tech, and I swear, the most boyfriend friendly. Take your significant other with you on this adventure, and he’ll think you’re the coolest girl he’s ever met. Geocaching is an activity in which the geocaching team (you and him) use GPS-enabled devices to find hidden “treasure” containers like you’re a 2000’s version of Indiana Jones. While it’s physically the same as hiking, it also includes a mysterious element that is sure to liven up your summer. It’s typically offered in state and county parks, though there are some urban locations too. Planning tip: Use geocaching.com to find a location, as well as to learn the rules of geocaching.
There you have it, ladies. Step away from the treadmill for a day, and take a look around you!
If you’re interested in any of these activities but have more questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section.
Hannah Borland, a senior in Dietetics at Michigan State University, is a Health and High School writer for College Lifestyles. Road trips and hiking are her two favorite parts of summer!