A gym is many things to many people. For some of us, it’s a place where we can burn off the aggravations and irritations of our day-to-day. For others, it’s a temple of Zen-like calm and reflection, where we can relax and focus. It’s also a place where we go to push ourselves to the limit when putting in the effort and hard work.
This year, however, many of us have found a newfound appreciation for places outside of walking distance from our house. We’ve been locked down, forced to stay indoors, and finding the motivation to exercise has been a challenge. That’s why exploring the wilderness has become a great alternative to traditional workouts for becoming fit. There are many incredible opportunities that the great outdoors has to offer. Here are a few options for wilderness exercise that will push your body to the limit!
White Water Rafting
Ready to get wet? Rafting can be a great activity for the whole family with plenty of amazing locations all over the country. The United States is also home to some of the most intense white water rafting in the world. In fact, some of the best rivers for white water rafting span across multiple states.
For instance, the Colorado River offers some truly breathtaking scenery and some heart-stopping thrills. Locations such as the Cataract Canyon in Utah and Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon to name a couple. There’s even a point in the river where it falls a stomach-turning 37 feet requiring strong arms for paddling against the current.
On the east coast of the U.S., Pillow Rock Rapid in West Virginia has its own thrilling twists and turns. Featuring a 30-foot drop, there’s never a dull moment as you traverse the Upper Gauley River. You’ll need to use a multitude of muscles to successfully navigate waters such as these. The fact is, white-water rafting taxes your deltoids, quads, biceps, and triceps, as well as your core.
Hit The Bike Trails
America has a truly staggering selection of amazing bike trails. Are you looking to get out into some of the most beautiful national parks? How about the 3,000-foot climb on the Going-To-The-Sun Road in Whitefish, Montana that takes you through Glacier National Park? Or perhaps hit the Flume Trail above Lake Tahoe in Nevada and see the incredible views over Sand Harbor.
From the forests of Oregon to the incredible desert scenery of Arizona, this is a perfect way to get out on your own. Explore the amazing beauty the outdoors has to offer and watch the time fly by. You probably won’t even notice how tired you’ve become. That is until you take a moment to rest and soak in your beautiful surroundings.
If you want some real wilderness then head out to the Badlands of North Dakota. At 2,700 feet, the 97 miles of the Maah Daah Hey Trail’s north section makes for a great multi-day trip. Of course, you’ll want to take some precautions for avoiding damage to your bike. Velosurance offers a range of bike insurance and some tips about how to transport bicycle equipment safely. This obviously includes the bike itself. They’ll ensure you can hit the trails worry-free with the knowledge that you’re fully covered.
Skiing And Snowboarding
It’s finally starting to get cold enough to hit the slopes. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, you’ll know that America has some of the most challenging and most spectacular ski routes in the world. Colorado is one of the most popular destinations for vacationers looking to carve up a little snow. This state has some genuinely challenging ski areas to push your body to its limits.
If you’re feeling brave and if you’ve got a little extra cash to spare, you can opt for heli-skiing at Silverton Mountain. That’s where you will jump out of a helicopter directly onto the slope. So, you know, bend those knees! It’s a bit pricey at $179 per person per run. Although, we’d argue that the experience is absolutely one of a kind.
The state is also home to the Rambo slope at Crested Butte. It’s the steepest cut run in the country which shouldn’t be surprising given its namesake. Aside from Colorado, there are a wealth of options available across the country for skiing and snowboarding. Both are the perfect activity to give your lower body muscles a workout while admiring some incredible scenery.
On the other hand, perhaps you’d like to upper body a workout that you won’t forget. Canyoneering (or canyoning) will put you to the test as you take to the wilderness for an inspirational workout A combination of determination, quick wits, and agility are a must! You’ll find a range of stunning trails suitable to your confidence level and capabilities. Each route may provide many different challenges from abseiling and cliff jumping to climbing and swimming.
Caves and pools, tight spots, and giant leaps aren’t uncommon when canyoneering. Your situational awareness and flexibility are needed just as much as core strength and endurance. So if you’re really looking to pit yourself against the great outdoors it’s an excellent choice. This is one activity you’ll want to do with an experienced guide or companion.
Utah (yes, Utah again!) is a great place to start on your canyoneering journey. The waters of Zion National Park, the tight squeezes of North Wash, and the long canyons of Escalante are just some options in this state. A quick note on this one: while you will have to think on your feet, preparation is paramount so make sure you do your research!