So you’ve eaten your weight in Christmas pies, New Year’s Eve cornbread (and maybe some of Aunt Joan’s leftover chicken casserole), and maybe you’re feeling a bit…festively plump. The good news is you’ve resolved to be more active in the new year (hooray!). But what does this mean? Go on a diet? Join a gym? Sure, those are great places to start. But maybe you already tried that last year, for the fifth year in a row, swearing this will be the year you stick to Zumba classes beyond the first few weeks of January.
We get it: It’s easy to fall off the fitness wagon when you’ve convinced yourself the only way to be more engaged and active in the new year is to stick to a gym routine—and that can get stale quicker than a gluten-free, sugar free, preservative-free protein bar. A better idea: Get outside and discover a new hobby! You may find your new passion, or renew an old one. We have some great ideas to get you started.
Take a hike!
It seems like a simple idea, but hiking is a great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed at all ages and fitness levels and Portland just happens to have a huge variety of hiking options.. It’s also a great opportunity to start a hiking group with your pals (I bet you could even come up with a cool name for your group…like the Walkie Talkies or the Sole Mates). Check here for a list of gear you’ll want to pick up based on the type of terrain you’ll be exploring.
Climbing is a great hobby because it can be done indoors and outdoors—although it also requires a necessary set of basic skills, caution and a solid foundation of knowledge that will keep you safe. That said, climbing is a fun activity that can help you stay toned and flexible—your legs and your arms will appreciate the workout, and your mind will get a nice workout, too, as you try to figure out the “puzzle” of getting to the top of that rock! Taking introductory lessons or classes from a qualified professional is the best way to get started with this activity.
Bring out your inner Goonie
Do you like treasure hunts? Of course you do. You’re never too old to join in on the world’s largest treasure hunt: Geocaching. Utilizing GPS maps and other navigational techniques outlined on the official geocaching website, there are 2 million caches all over the world. They are typically small, waterproof boxes containing a logbook and small sentimental trinkets that you can trade. Once you’ve signed your name, you put the cache back for the next person to find. This is an addictive and fun hobby that can take you anywhere from the mountains to your very own urban back yard.
Hit the slopes (even if it’s just the “bunny” varietal)
We’re lucky enough to have Mt. Hood right in our backyard, take advantage of it! Snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are just a few snowy activities you can enjoy this season to keep your body and spirit happy and active. Just like climbing, these activities are best learned by taking introductory lessons from a pro to avoid injuries.
It’s a thing. Really! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a night or two cuddled up under the stars. Layering and knowing the weather forecasts are the two things you’ll want to consider when planning your trip. This website has a great article on planning your nice, quiet outdoor getaway.
Try your hand at gardening—or just your green thumb
It’s easy to think that you can only garden during the spring and summer months, because that means the beginning of tomatoes, melons and summer squashes. But hardy vegetables like kale, potatoes and onions love to be planted during winter. There are also a few flower varieties that thrive in the winter months—so by the time spring and summer rolls around, you may just have two green thumbs.
…And then lend a helping hand
If you love the great outdoors and are looking for the opportunity to contribute to your community, volunteering is a great way to get out and do some good in the world. There are countless variations of activities you can do solo or with your family—from cleaning up the forests to building houses, there’s the perfect fit for you.
Whether you’re a homebody or a weekend warrior, there’s no better time than the new year to discover a new outdoor hobby. Even if you decide that you have more of a black thumb than a green one, you will appreciate the fact that you tried something new. And shaking up your indoor routines of tea and Netflix marathons will still be there at the end of a long day on the slopes.
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.