The 100-Mile Challenge can help you improve your health every day. The health benefits of joining the challenge include:
- Good for your mental health: Exercise triggers endorphins, promotes relaxation, and prevents anxiety and depression. Research also suggests that it can help the brain cope better with stress.
- Stronger body: Walking, jogging, and hiking all improve muscle mass to strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Regular physical activity can also help with arthritis and other joint conditions.
- Weight loss: Aerobic activity can help control weight.
- Disease prevention: Exercise decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic issues and some cancers.
- Better sleep: Physical activity can make it easier to fall asleep and makes that sleep deeper to keep you there. However, make sure not to exercise right before bedtime.
Even if it's just one or two miles to begin with, it doesn't matter how small you start, as long as you're participating.
A Social Activity
Exercise doesn't have to be a chore, and it definitely doesn't have to be a solo activity. Almost everyone can benefit from adding physical activity into their daily routines. You can meet the 100-Mile Challenge by walking, running, cycling, paddling, or even skating! With so many activities to choose from, the entire family can participate.
Having a work out buddy also makes it easier to create a habit of physical activity. And it's more fun!
A Safe Way to Exercise
Everyone's fitness level is different, and your miles don't have to be intense to count. Just make sure you pick an activity that's right for you, and check with your doctor if you have questions about your own health and beginning an exercise program.
Moderate level aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, is safe and healthy for most people. This includes actions like walking fast or biking on level ground. Vigorous-intensity activity, such as running, swimming or playing physically intense games, increases the benefits of exercise, particularly with regards to muscle strenghtening.
If you aren't used to being active, start slowly. Going from little physical activity to sudden vigourous activity can put you at risk of injury. Begin at an easy level, and then increase your activity gradually.
If you have a chronic health condition or injury, please talk with your doctor to help determine your limits, and work with them to create an activity plan that best matches your abilities.
For the little ones, it can be hard to tell if a trail if an appropriate length of difficulty. That's why North Carolina State Parks offer TRACK Trails. All are fun, family-friendly hikes with self-guided signs and information, so your child can learn while they exercise. Find a TRACK Trail on the North Carolina State Parks website.