WESTERN KY – June 2012 has officially been proclaimed Great Outdoors Month, and there are lots of ways to celebrate. Here are five different activities you can enjoy in the great outdoors.

GO FISHING OR BOATING

Going fishing is a great way to take advantage of a beautiful day. There are lots of amazing places across Western KY where you can take your boat out and relax on the water. Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley share a combined total of over 200,000 acres of water and 3,300 miles of shoreline. Physically, fishing isn’t an overly demanding activity, but it does involve physical activities which burn calories, and exercise different muscle groups. Things like carrying fishing gear and casting won’t give you a cardio workout, but you will be doing some minor muscle toning and maintaining a level of dexterity.

Like all other outdoor activities, fishing and boating give a person the opportunity to breathe plenty of fresh air, which is important to the human body, both physically and mentally. And like all other outdoor activities, soaking up some sunshine in moderation is beneficial to a person’s health as well. Appropriate sun exposure provides the human body with vitamin D, which reduces the chance for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, helps against osteoporosis, boosts the immune system, helps fight depression, reduces acne, helps with weight loss, prevents pathological muscle weakness, and helps combat type II diabetes, just to name a few.

Think of fishing as a brain escape. Mentally, fishing doesn’t require much effort, and that in itself can be a huge benefit to the human body as well. Fishing lets you relax your body and mind. Let yourself daydream while you munch on some healthy snacks and soak in your surroundings. If you plan to take your boat or canoe out, remember to review proper safety precautions so that your enjoyable trip doesn’t take a less than enjoyable turn. Check out a recent article from SurfKY News about canoe safety by clicking here.

GO CAMPING

Pick a spot, pitch a tent, and do the rustic thing for a few nights. Camping requires a lot of physical activity, which controls weight, boosts the immune system, improves mood by releasing endorphins, and increases physical and mental energy. If you have never been camping before, there are a lot of state parks and national forests that offer a first-time camper program. The program allows beginners to rent equipment and a campsite for a small fee. There are quite a few state parks located in Western KY that feature outdoor camping areas. Those parks include Lake Barkley State Park, Kentucky Dam Village State Park, Kenlake State Resort Park, John James Audubon State Park, and Lake Malone State Park.

GO HIKING

Hiking is an incredibly rewarding activity because it encompasses so much. Hiking is a great way to exercise and receive proper sun exposure, while relaxing the mind, and boosting your physical and mental strength. If you enjoy hiking, Kentucky is a great state to discover on foot. Kentucky has more state resort parks than any other state in America, and one in our area often goes overlooked. The Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park offers some amazing hiking trails that aren’t too far from home.

Geocaching is another great aspect of hiking. Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt. There are caches hidden everywhere. Using a GPS device allows you to plot geocache coordinates, and find them with the help of clues and hints. You can then log the caches you have found, and when they were uncovered. Usually, there will be small tokens or “travel bugs” inside. You can take a “prize” as long as you leave one behind. A prize might be anything from a sticker, to an unused lottery ticket. You can follow each travel bug’s journey online to see how many different locations these hitchhikers have traveled to.

If you plan to trek off the beaten path next time you go hiking, make sure you are prepared. Review a recent article from SurfKY News about hiking safety by clicking here.

GO SKATEBOARDING

Skateboarding has become a mainstream activity for young people all across the globe. It is a form of transportation, as well as sport, when it comes to learning tricks and using different styles of skating. There are various riding styles including freestyle, vertical, transition, street, park, cruising, technical flatground, downhill, and big air skateboarding, although versatile skateboarders ride in multiple styles.

Skateboarding is an extremely physical activity. It increases coordination, balance, flexibility, and builds cardiovascular stamina. Studies have shown that skateboarders have better self-esteem than their less active peers. Learning tricks takes large amounts of time and focus. Once tricks have been learned, after putting in the time and effort, that feeling of accomplishment is good for the psyche. Skaters constantly set new goals for themselves as they progress through different levels of accomplishment.

Cities in Western KY that offer skate parks include Henderson, Bardstown, Benton, Calvert City, Owensboro, and Paducah.

GO CYCLING

Maybe it’s time to pull that old bike out of the garage and take it for a spin. You can ride a bicycle almost anywhere. Steady cycling burns around 300 calories per hour and increases muscle tone, strength, stamina and cardiovascular fitness.

Like skateboarding, cycling is another great method of transportation that is good for the environment. Many people choose to cycle to work instead of driving. You can cycle recreationally around your neighborhood for fun, hit the road for the day, or take a mountain bike off-road and take a more challenging trip through the woods.

The cycling scene is growing in Western KY. Groups like the Pennyrile Area Cyclists, Wood N Wave, and River City Racing promote cycling locally. Many places across Western KY offer biking races, competitions, and time trials, on-road and off. To read a recent SurfKY News articles regarding the Grapevine Lake Time Trials click here.

As Great Outdoors Month and National Safety Month progress, SurfKY News will continue to bring you safety tips and information.

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