Resolve to Get Outdoors in 2017

New Years Asheville OutdoorsThe turn of the year means 2016 is in the books—and for many of us, it can’t come a moment too soon. The end of a year usually brings a time of self-reflection, a time to get our priorities in line and make a plan for improvement. That seems especially important this year.

The top New Year’s resolutions remain largely unchanged year after year: stay fit and healthy, lose weight, and enjoy life to the fullest. If the goals on your list look similar, scratch them out and replace them with one enjoyable item: get outdoors!

These days, the average American spends 93% of their life inside, 87% in buildings and 6% in vehicles. Spending just 20 more minutes outside each day is long enough to provide a cleaning of the mental windshield to recover from everyday life.

You might be thinking, “This sounds great, but I went camping once and hated it.” Luckily, there are countless ways to get outdoors that don’t include pitching a tent—although that can be pretty great, too! If you’re already an outdoors maestro, introduce newbie friends and family to your favorite outdoor activities.

Take a Hike

Asheville Hiking Outdoors Western North Carolina MountainsOn a tree-lined street, your closest park or greenway, or one of the many trails a few minutes outside of town, hiking is great because it doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. A good pair of hiking shoes from your local outdoors store is good enough to start. As you graduate to more moderate trails, trekking poles can come in handy. The North Carolina Arboretum is a beautiful choice this time of year with lots of parking and trails of all levels.

Train for a Big Event

Running Asheville Big Event Western North Carolina OutdoorsWhether you’re a runner, biker, or hiker (or want to be one), having a specific challenge in mind will give you structure and motivation. If you’re already running a few times a week, but want to warm up your winter right away, the Asheville Hot Chocolate 10K is January 21. For beginners and those just getting back into the game, the Race to the Taps series kicks off on March 18. Followed by three additional races in April, September, and October, you’ll be able to trace your improvement through the year.

Find Inspiration

Outdoors Volunteering Asheville Mountains WNCShare your skills, meet new people, and make a difference by volunteering with organizations like MountainTrue, The North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville Greenworks, Carolina Mountain Club, The Pisgah Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Muddy Sneakers, Friends of the Smokies, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, North Carolina Outward Bound School, RiverLink, and…you get the idea?!? There are many ways to volunteer with great local organizations. With the amount of projects available, you can volunteer when your schedule permits, create a custom outing, or join a group event. Local stores like Diamond Brand Outdoors often host information sessions with these groups, making getting involved even easier.

These are a few ways you get outdoors more in 2017 right away. You can also simply visit a new neck of the woods or take a date night outside. As it warms up, maybe join an outdoor sports league or try your hand at kayak fishing. Making time for yourself to do what you love in the places you love to do them will reconnect you with the world and make you happy.

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