Be Active. Go Explore. Connect with Others. The mantra of the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge encourages all Alabamians to kick-start an active, healthy lifestyle while exploring our beautiful state. But achieving greater mobility and enhanced physical fitness is not always walk in the park (although that’s a great place to start). Meeting health and wellness goals is a journey that takes time and dedication, which is why at just two miles a week, the 100 Alabama Miles can be accomplished within one year. And the best part? It’s all geared to get participants outside to see sights across Alabama.
In fact, the great outdoors is a key component of the journey to 100 Alabama Miles. Physical activity in an outdoor environment offers many benefits compared to indoor exercise.
Burn more calories
Due to changing incline levels, wind resistance, and variances in your speed, exercising outdoors is proven to burn more calories. In fact, depending on speed, you can burn up to 7 percent more calories on an outdoor track or hiking trail than on a treadmill.
Take in the rays
Getting outdoors also helps you gain all sorts of energy from the sun. Receiving the right balance of sunlight can work wonders on both your mind and body. Adequate amounts of sunlight can boost serotonin, which lifts your mood and sense of well-being. Additionally, sunlight generates Vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, and can prevent chronic conditions and even some forms of cancer. However, don’t forget your sunscreen!
Let’s face it, gym memberships can get expensive. Why spend all that money working out under fluorescent lights and sharing equipment when you can share the great outdoors with your friends and family? Many of the nature preserves around the state are free to access, and entrance fees to Alabama’s state parks are only a few dollars.
Our state is home to numerous state parks and nature preserves that provide the perfect arena for outdoor exercise. Take in the sights and sounds while challenging yourself to complete 100 miles of physical activity this year. Whether you want to walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll, get started on your journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle today!
To find a state park, nature preserve or outdoor trail near you, click here.