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Into the Wild: 5 Outdoor Activities to Shake Up Your Sedentary Lifestyle

Into the Wild: 5 Outdoor Activities to Shake Up Your Sedentary Lifestyle

Being a working family man is great, but it is also challenging.

Trying to balance the time between jobs and loved ones can be exhausting, both mentally and physically, and a lot of us are not strangers to this. With time passing by, people usually have certain routines and habits engraved deep into their brains, and more often than not, those habits are bad. The workdays are the same: work-eat-sleep, while weekends and free time fall victim to your laziness and sedentary lifestyle, dragging away any chance of excitement, joy, and thrills of life. In the long run, living like this reduces the quality of your life and causes unhappiness, and further down the road, disease.

So what can you do? I believe that the best possible solution is going into the wild and connecting with nature. It will refresh and challenge you, and science has proven that spending time in a natural environment is vital to our well-being. Below, I have prepared a list of outdoor activities that are perfect options for someone like you. Some are more, some are less physically demanding, and it’s up to you to choose. One thing is for sure – none of them will leave you disappointed.

1. White water rafting

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    If you are the type who prefers dynamic, fast and crazy sports, then there is hardly a better option than white water rafting. For those lucky enough to live close to mountainous areas, it should not be difficult to find a rafting club, and there is no valid excuse not to try it. It will give you the opportunity to de-stress in a unique way.

    The quick waters and fast sections of the rafting tour will require focus and take a lot of energy to cross; the more calm parts will enable you to enjoy the surrounding views and unwind.

    One of the advantages of this sport is that it is a group activity, meaning that you can do it with your friends or your family. This can be a wonderful bonding experience, and will increase your satisfaction in life much more.

    2. Bow hunting

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      Some would say that this is the “manliest” thing to do out there, but it is not the reason why I chose this activity. Hunting is one of the primal human means of survival, but it has been made obsolete by modern society. When you go to the wilderness searching for prey, you connect to something deeper within you that has been neglected for generations, and it is a life-changing feeling. There are a few reasons why I recommend bow hunting over using rifles.

      First, it requires some strength to wield a bow, and when you combine that with all the hiking, it will make your hunt a brutal workout. Second, it is fairer to the animals. Bow hunting requires a lot of skill, and the reach of the arrows is shorter than guns, so you will have to step your game up to be able to hunt something. Lastly, it is more fun, so get the best compound bow for yourself, step outside, and discover your ancestral nature.

      3. Kayaking

        Kayaking

        is ideal for all those people who like relaxing and spending their spare time alone, or anyone looking for solitude. If you are one of those individuals, and you have never done this, it is time to give it a shot. The good news is that basic kayaking skills can be learned within a day, and from then on, you are good to go.

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        Of course first, you need to acquire all the necessary equipment. The convenient thing about this sport is that you don’t need to travel far just to reach a river or stream (this a good option of course), but you can also do it in channels running through your town or city. When it comes to physicality, the upper body will do all the work, and you will see significant increases in strength and cardiovascular endurance. What’s not to love here?

        4. Camping

          Need some time away from society? Try camping. Is there anything better than escaping into the woods for a day or two? The answer to this question depends on what kind of person you are, but I am sure that it is hard not to enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Ultimately, camping is about relaxing, completely unwinding, and forgetting the fast pace of your everyday life. It doesn’t require any physical fitness, and you don’t have to be an exercise enthusiast to do it, but in the end, your muscles will get worked, and you will benefit from it.

          Most of all, this kind of activity offers great chances for socializing with others, whether it be your family or friends. It is also the perfect opportunity to prepare and eat some great food. Spending the evening by the campfire is a unique, unmatched, chill-out experience, and it will prepare you for the good night’s sleep that only nature can offer.

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          5. Rock climbing

            Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult activities on this list. It requires a pretty high level of physical fitness since it fires up pretty much every muscle in your body. On the mental side, there can be other challenges; talk to some professionals and try out the sport with their guidance. This is an excellent mood and health-improving, as well as a unique, mind-toughening sport, that will make you meet some of your demons, and hopefully, overcome them.

            What do you choose?

            All in all, each of these activities differs greatly, and it is up to you to try them out and see which one is optimal for yourself. Let this article be an inspiration for all those who want to change their life for the better. And don’t stop here; research more, and maybe you will find something else to do. Just make sure that it helps you keep fit and happy, because there’s nothing in life more valuable than that.

            More by this author

            Dejan Kvrgic

            Blogger, Writer

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            Last Updated on November 12, 2020

            Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

            Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

            If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

            If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

            In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

            What Happens When You’re Too Tired

            If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

            Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

            • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
            • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
            • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
            • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
            • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
            • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
            • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

            Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

            Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

            Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

            1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
            2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
            3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

            The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

            Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

            You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

            Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

            If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

            Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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            Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

            Symptoms of fatigue include:

            • Difficulty concentrating
            • Low stamina
            • Difficulty sleeping
            • Anxiety
            • Low motivation

            These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

            Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

            How Much Sleep Is Enough?

            The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

            Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

            Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

              The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

              Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

              Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

              If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

              It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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              4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

              Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

              1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
              2. Exercising regularly
              3. Using stressbusters
              4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

              After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

              I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

              Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

              • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
              • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
              • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
              • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

              The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

              Living Healthy

              Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

              In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

              As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

              Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

              1. Unplug

              Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

              Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

              2. Unwind

              Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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              3. Get Comfortable

              Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

              Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

              Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

              This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

              Exercise

              Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

              That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

              I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

              If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

              Attitude

              Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

              When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

              But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

              Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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              1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
              2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
              3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
              4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
              5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
              6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

              This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

              When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

              Nutrition

              Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

              If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

              Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

              Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

              1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
              2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
              3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
              4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
              5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
              6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
              7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
              8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
              9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

              Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

              That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

              Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

              The Bottom Line

              If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

              If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

              Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

              More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

              Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
              [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
              [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
              [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
              [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
              [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
              [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
              [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
              [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
              [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
              [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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