Numerous health benefits for those active outside

By: Kian Hagerman

In an age of modern conveniences it can be difficult to motivate one to be active outdoors, but the benefits one can gain in doing so are many.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adults who engage in any physical activity will gain health benefits, but for substantive effects one should perform 75-150 minutes of aerobic activity spread across each week.

“If you are exercising in general you are exercising for better health,” said MCC exercise science instructor Jim Haggerty.

Photo courtesy of Belen Lopez
Photo courtesy of Belen Lopez

In a report by the HHS, physical activity declines a great deal during adolescence, with females being less likely to participate in strenuous physical activity than males.

The same report states that regular physical activity reduces risk of being affected by or dying from the leading causes of illness in the U.S.

Some of these conditions that exercise can reduce or prevent the effects of include heart disease and related conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure and some different forms of cancer.

Regular exercise reduces mortality from chronic diseases, and many chronic illnesses can be prevented  or the symptoms improved by consistent physical activity according to the HHS.

“It’s good for your total body health,” Haggerty said. “Exercise helps the ability to fight off illness.”

Those interested in strenuous activity like sports may find added benefit from varying their training methods.

Bicycling and walking are activities one can do close to home, but some more adventurous choices include hiking, rock climbing and running.

“I like swimming because it gives me swag,” said Mesa Community College student Farah Lourie.

Lourie added that swimming is a great way to keep cool in the summertime.

Due to environmental conditions prevalent in Arizona, those looking to get outside should take some precautions to stay safe.

The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) suggests that when arranging a hike, to plan ahead and be conservative in your estimations of distances.

One should also eat and drink more often than normal; doing so before feeling the urge to, the AOT also suggests.

“Anytime you are doing outdoor stuff, exercise especially, you want to stay hydrated,” Haggerty said.

“Also, make sure you have eaten at some point 2-3 hours beforehand.”

Getting an early start on your trip when it’s cooler out can also mitigate the impact of the sun in summer.

“As temperature goes up you want to try to avoid the heat,” Haggerty said.

The AOT also suggests taking into account one’s own limitations, and choosing a hike that is appropriate to one’s skill level and physical capabilities.

This precaution can be applied to any physical activity; pushing oneself too hard can have negative results.

Being active outdoors in Arizona requires some forethought to stay safe, but can be beneficial for those that are.

To find out more information about places to visit around Arizona, go to AOT’s offical website  www.arizonaguide.com.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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