Outdoor Activities and Things To Do
Are you looking for things to do in Columbia County? Enjoy a family day-trip to one of the many beautiful parks along the Hudson River or the Long Island Sound. Go
boating at one of the beautiful ponds or lakes at a Columbia County park. On the hot days of summer, cool off in one of the many
swimming pools and beaches available throughout Columbia County.
If you are looking for good outdoor activities in Columbia County, there are many things to do. Columbia County is flush with parks, hiking trails, nature trails, and amazing
historic sites . Both children and adults enjoy learning about the history of the Hudson Valley. Tour the historic sites of Westchester and Dutchess County, up through the northern Hudson Valley counties of Albany and Rensselaer.
Autumn in the Hudson Valley is spectacular; especially as leaves begin to turn to red, golden yellow, and rich shades of cranberry and plum. Be sure to surprise the children, including even the older kids, with a day-out of
apple, berry, or pumpkin picking. Or, take a scenic drive into the countryside and walk in the beautiful parks and on the
scenic trails of the Hudson Valley.
In autumn, the backdrop of breathtaking fall colors enhances a hike on the hiking trails in and around Columbia County. Explore the many parks offering playgrounds and picnicking for the whole family. Select
outdoor activities in Columbia County. Columbia offers many things to do with children, as well as fun activities for singles, or family activities. Visit Columbia's parks, nature preserves, hiking trails, biking trails, and much more; all very beautiful and abundant in Columbia County.
If you enjoy golf, find
golf courses in Columbia County. For the younger children in the family, try
miniature golf courses. And remember, activity is good for everyone!
Activity is for Everyone
Healthy living and physical fitness are closely connected. Being physically fit not only helps people live healthy lives; it also helps people live longer. People who make physical activity and exercise a part of their daily lives when they are young are more likely to keep it in their lives, as they grow older and benefit from it throughout their lifespan. Physical activity is any movement that spends energy. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is structured and planned.
Exercise offers other benefits, including strengthened muscles, increased flexibility, and stronger bones. Regular activity also promises mental-health benefits, like relieving stress and anxiety. It can help you sleep better and renew your energy.
Virtually everyone benefits from physical activity and exercise. However, every few years, surveys confirm the well-known fact that most people aren't active enough. While many children engage in physical activity, the amount of physical activity and exercise they get as they grow into adolescents usually declines. In fact, many researchers believe that physical inactivity is a national health problem that can increase the risk of illness and disease.
It is widely accepted by the health community that doing some kind of physical activity or exercise on a regular basis helps to increase strength and flexibility, improve endurance, control weight, increase bone mass, and improve self-esteem. Exercise also reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and the risk of developing high blood pressure.
The best way to keep physical activity and exercise a permanent part of one's life is to make it fun and enjoyable. If people are given different options of what they can do and have easy access to those options, they are more likely to participate in physical activity and exercise. This allows people to have a positive attitude toward physical fitness. It's also helpful if people are knowledgeable about the rewards of physical activity and exercise.
Physical activity and exercise benefits both the body and the mind in numerous ways. Activity options include team and individual sports, walking, gardening, dancing, and even doing everyday household chores.
Benefits of Exercise and Physical Fitness
It is generally accepted that exercise improves health and well-being. Physical activity doesn't need to be strenuous for a person to enjoy benefits to health. However, by sensibly increasing physical activity - you increase your health benefits. Exercise also believed to increase endorphins, a protein in the brain that act as the body's natural pain reliever.
Exercise and Physical Fitness Concepts
Cardiovascular fitness is improved by aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health as it typically uses the body's largest groups of muscles (the legs) continually which makes a person need more oxygen. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, walking fast, biking, and dancing. Cardiovascular or aerobic activity also strengthens the heart and lungs.
Regular activity and exercise make for a healthier heart. A healthy heart enhances the efficiency of circulating blood throughout the body. The heart pumps blood, which carries oxygen to muscles and carries away waste. How well the heart performs is a good indication of a person's cardiovascular system.
Endurance refers to a person's ability to continue doing a stressful activity for an extended period of time, also known as stamina. What this means is that a person with good endurance or stamina can bike, jog, play, or run for a long time without getting tired. A healthy endurance level means that a person has a healthy level of cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness refers to how efficiently the heart and lungs can pump blood (which holds oxygen) to muscles used during a workout. The more efficiently the heart works, the more energy the body has to continue working without a great deal of effort.
Activity and Exercise
Activity and exercise help the cardiovascular system by improving circulation. Circulation is increased because physical activity increases a person's blood volume. This makes it easier for the heart to function and more blood gets to muscles, meaning more oxygen is carried to the muscles. Exercise and activity also help reduce a person's chances of developing high blood pressure, or hypertension. Physical fitness can reduce the risk of suffering serious consequences, such as a stroke, from high blood pressure.
Strength is the ability to resist force. Muscles constantly resist force. The more strength a person has, the easier it is for muscles to resist greater force. For instance, someone who can lift one hundred pounds of weight once is stronger than someone who can lift fifty pounds of weight twice. Just as regular physical activity builds strength, it also builds muscle endurance. Similar to cardiovascular endurance, muscle endurance means that muscles are able to work for longer periods.
Stronger Bones May Prevent Illness
Stronger muscles go hand in hand with stronger bones and healthy joints. And, as the body builds muscle, it tends to lose fat, which results in a leaner, healthier body. Weight-bearing activities build better bones.
There are several reasons why weight-bearing activities build better bones. First, these activities seem to actually stimulate the formation of bone. Also, with physical activity comes muscle strength, which means that the muscles that are exerted grow stronger; this, in turn, benefits the bones. Finally, with improved strength, balance, and coordination, the risk of falls and bone injuries is greatly reduced.
Having thicker, healthier bones helps combat arthritis and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones, making them so fragile that they can fracture easily doing everyday activities. Although osteoporosis mainly strikes older people, it is during childhood and adolescence that bones are forming. Building stronger bones during adolescence will help combat diseases such as osteoporosis later in life.
Breath Easier and Strengthen Lung Capacity
As people grow older, their lung capacity (how much air the lungs hold) typically reduces. Cardiovascular activity and exercise can combat this because aerobic activities actually increase lung capacity. So while lung capacity will continue to diminish because of age, with regular activity - especially aerobic activity, it will do so at a slower rate.
Physical activity and exercise require energy, as does everything. In addition to expending energy, however, physical activity also gives people increased energy throughout the entire day. The immune system also benefits from regular physical activity. A healthy immune system helps fight colds, cancer, and other diseases, and speeds recovery from all kinds of injuries.
The human body needs sleep. Sleep gives us energy. Regular physical activity helps people sleep more soundly. The more soundly one sleeps, the more energy one saves up during that time, and the more energy a person has to work, play, study, and enjoy life.
Young people are usually quite flexible. However, as with lung capacity, flexibility diminishes as people grow older. Activities and exercises that increase flexibility such as: gymnastics, martial arts, and yoga, are helpful in preventing injuries. The more flexible a person is, the less likely he or she is to suffer a sprain or strain a muscle.
Physical Activity and Exercise Benefit the Mind
Physical activity and exercise are beneficial to the mind as well as the body. They help improve a person's health and overall outlook on life. The great thing about physical activity and exercise is that it doesn't matter what a person does as long as it raises the heart rate for a certain period of time (twenty to thirty minutes) You can bike, run, swim, walk, garden, etc. - all healthy activity benefits the mind. People experience a natural high thereby developing the ability to better handle emotions and changes in life.
Endorphins - Our Natural High
When a person is physically active or exercises for a certain period of time—about 20 minutes or longer—the body releases endorphins, proteins in the brain that act as the body's natural pain reliever. When endorphins are released, a person may experience a feeling of euphoria.
Exercise Helps Relieve Depression and Anxiety
Many people suffer from depression and anxiety. A person may feel just depressed or anxious or experience both depression and anxiety at the same time. Depression can cause people to feel sad, tired, and hopeless. Researchers have found that in mild cases, physical activity and exercise can help relieve feelings of depression and lower a person's anxiety.
Handle Stress Better
Stress is a normal part of every person's life. However, too much stress can cause health problems. Some symptoms of stress include anxiety, high blood pressure, irritability, tense muscles, headaches, stomach aches, and lower resistance to illness. Physical activity and exercise, especially noncompetitive activity, help to manage stress. They give a person the opportunity to feel calmer and more alert, which can help a person work through the things that are causing the stress. They also boost the immune system.
Concentration is important for learning and understanding new things. Being physically active and exercising can help improve concentration. Staying physically fit has also been found to help people maintain memory longer. As people get older, their memory skills can deteriorate, and physical activity and exercise can help ward off this effect.
Feel Calmer and Sleep Soundly
Physical activity and exercise can make people feel more alert during the day, while also allowing people to feel calmer and sleep more soundly. When people are active, their body temperature rises and warms their insides. This soothes the body, like a warm bath, and causes a person to feel calmer. This feeling, along with the lower anxiety and stress and physical benefits of physical activity and exercise, helps a person to sleep soundly at night.
Activity Promotes Fitness
There are many types of activities that improve a person's physical fitness. The options range from traditional aerobics to alternative practices such as yoga, pilates, and martial arts. Each activity has its own specific benefits and requires different kinds of equipment. Choosing the best activities involves finding the ones that are the most pleasurable and fun. The most important thing is doing some kind of activity on a regular basis.
Participation in sports and other healthy physical activities are a great way of staying active. Sports offer wonderful rewards for mental health. Being involved in sports has been proven to help people learn valuable skills for dealing with life's ups and downs. They teach people how to interact with others and work as a team. Sports also help people become more independent and feel better about themselves.
Children, Kids, Preteens
Physical activity and exercise are not the same. And while both are good, most experts recommend that kids and preteens focus more on being physically active (such as playing or bike-riding) than on actually doing structured exercise. Playing is simple and fun. The options are endless and the benefits are great. Playing increases strength, flexibility, coordination, and muscle tone and, because it increases the heart rate, it burns fat as well. In addition to the physical benefits, playing relieves stress and imparts a positive attitude about life and physical fitness. Playing activities include: Frisbee, tag, hide-and-seek, playing with a pet, gardening, and hopscotch. There are many outdoor activities for children that can be enjoyed during a day out in the
parks of Columbia NY.
Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and tones the body. There are two types of aerobics: high-impact and low-impact. Both involve moving the body for at least twenty minutes in order to increase the heart rate to a point where the body is burning fat. High-impact aerobics involves dance combinations and jumping movements, while low-impact aerobics uses similar movements without the jumping. Low-impact aerobics is gentler to the joints because one foot is always touching the floor and therefore it is less likely to cause injury.
Although just north of New York City, Columbia County offers magnificent parks, scenic views, and many opportunities for exercise. Biking is an activity that the whole family can enjoy. Children love a day out where they can safely ride their bikes on the many biking trails that Columbia offers. Visit
biking trails in Columbia and spend a day biking with the children. Biking can be enjoyed by everyone and is an exercise that builds strength and balance. Riding for just twenty minutes will make the heart stronger and help the body burn fat.
Most people learn to ride bikes as children, so all it takes to participate is a bicycle and road to ride it on. Some people choose to ride on the road, while others buy a mountain bike that allows them to ride on dirt roads and trails in the woods or in the mountains. In addition to having a bike, people need to wear helmets and have reflectors attached to the bike. Many people ride with friends or even join a cycling club to meet others who like to use their pedals to get their hearts pumping. Enjoy biking, a wonderfully healthy and gratifying outdoor exercise.
Boxing tones and strengthens the whole body. Whether a person is just punching the air, called shadow boxing, or punching a bag, boxing helps burn fat, relieve stress, and increase endurance and confidence. People interested in learning to box usually take classes at a local gym or learn boxing moves from a video. With boxing gloves and loose comfortable workout clothing, you can box at a gym, a recreation center, or at home. It is also possible to learn how to kick box, which uses the legs and the arms to punch the air or a bag.
Dance is great exercise for the whole body. It not only tones the body and burns fat, but it also improves balance and coordination. There are many different types of dance, including ballet, tap, modern, country-western, jazz, and hip-hop. Some people choose to take classes to learn the right technique. This can be especially important for tap and ballet. Others may rent or buy a video that teaches them the right moves. However, dance doesn't have to be structured. Dancing to a song on the radio or to a favorite CD is enough for some people. Dancing in any form is a fun way to become physically fit.
Gymnastics is an intense activity that strengthens every muscle in the body. It also improves coordination and flexibility; however, it can be risky since many of the moves include flips and jumps that can cause injury. Practicing gymnastics requires classes at a gym with special equipment, a training camp, or a gymnastics clinic. It also requires an instructor, as gymnastic moves are difficult and cannot be learned without proper instruction.
One of the best things about hiking is being surrounded by nature. Hiking trails can be found everywhere, giving hikers many choices of trails that differ in difficulty and scenery. The many benefits of hiking include the opportunity to go
birding in Columbia County, where you can feel the beauty of nature all around.
Ice skating works the lower body, including thighs, hips, and buttocks. It also strengthens the heart, burns fat, and improves balance and coordination. Individual and group lessons are available at local rinks. It's also possible to learn how to figure skate, which involves doing spins, jumps, and dance moves on the ice. Having a supportive pair of skates is essential. If there's nowhere to ice skate, but the activity is appealing, in-line skating is a great alternative.
In-line skating is similar to ice-skating but it's done on concrete, not ice. It works the lower body and strengthens the heart. In-line skating has grown in popularity over recent years and many people consider it to be one of the most fun activities to do.
The martial arts are a combination of physical activity and mental strength and development. The practice of the arts goes back thousands of years; they work to improve the body's strength, power, speed, endurance, control, balance, awareness, and timing. In addition to physical training, martial arts benefit the mind through meditation that brings peace of mind in daily life.
Running is an intense exercise. It's great for increasing heart rate, burning fat, and relieving stress. The muscles in the legs and stomach become stronger through running, and many runners talk of a "runner's high," which can be attributed to the release of endorphins, or the body's natural pain reliever, into the bloodstream.
Skiing, Snowboarding and Ice Hockey
Downhill skiing improves muscle tone for the whole body, as well as increasing balance and endurance. Cross-country skiing means constantly moving the arms and legs in a rhythmic fashion, which keeps the heart pumping fast. Snowboarding increases muscle tone in the lower body, while also improving balance and coordination. For a team activity during the winter months, join a beginner's game of
ice hockey. If you love winter sports, try one of many
winter sports available throughout the Hudson Valley. Visit
cross-country skiing in Columbia, and find all the fantastic places to go sledding, snowmobiling, and cross-county skiing in the Hudson Valley.
Swimming is a great activity that is easy on the body's joints because the water cushions the body while it moves. Swimming tones the whole body and increases the heart rate. It can be structured or unstructured. Doing laps with different types of strokes is a possibility, as is just playing around in the water with friends or participating in a water volleyball game. Swimming tones the whole body and increases the heart rate.
Team sports offer a variety of benefits that are unique to each sport. Hockey, basketball, and soccer, for example, require constant movement and therefore are great for increasing the heart rate, burning fat, and toning muscle. They also improve coordination and endurance. Softball, baseball, football, and volleyball increase muscle strength and coordination. Track and field benefits the whole body as it can involve running, sprinting, jumping, and throwing. All team sports usually require the participant to train for the playing season.
Tennis can be played with two or four people, called singles or doubles. Either way provides a good workout, increasing strength in the arms and the legs, as well as improving eye-hand coordination. Singles is a more intense activity since one does not have a partner to help cover the court.
Walking is one of the most simple and accessible activities. Most people do some walking every day. Going for a fast and long walk, sometimes called power walking, will increase heart rate and burn fat, while also improving endurance. Walking uphill will increase muscle tone in the legs, back, stomach, and buttocks. Pumping the arms while walking will tone the arms and shoulders. If you enjoy walking, studying nature or a power walk to get your heart pumping; visit
walking trails in Columbia N.Y.
Yoga is a series of exercises that incorporate regulated breathing, concentration, and flexibility. Yoga is a way of life that connects the mind, body, and spirit. Through different poses, or postures, yoga improves flexibility, strength, circulation, and relieves stress while helping a person achieve peace of mind. Yoga will also improve the body's alignment, which means all the body's parts are in the right position for good health.