man in wet suit surfing big wave

Trouble Sticking To Your Fitness Goals? Try Adventure Instead!

There are many reasons why people have difficulty sticking to new habits, goals, and fitness programs

One of these reasons may be the common misconception that if you want to be fit and healthy you MUST do certain types of exercise. Like running. Or lifting weights. 

But unless you want to become a runner, a weightlifter, or are training for a particular sport, this is not necessarily the case.

The type of exercise you choose, should fit your fitness goals.

adventure fitness at its finest! Clarissa hikes to 7 waterfalls in the arizona Desert.
Clarissa loves exploring waterfalls!

What Are Your Fitness Goals?

Are you training for a particular sport? Or, are you looking to: 

  1. Improve your health?
  2. Drop a few pounds?
  3. Look or feel a little better?

If you said yes to numbers 1, 2, or 3 above, finding a type of exercise that you can be consistent with and make a part of your identity and lifestyle, is the most important factor.

Consistency is key when it comes to achieving health and fitness goals.

What Is Adventure Fitness?

Adventure fitness is really just about getting active in the outdoors. 

Adventure fitness can take many forms, including:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Rock climbing
  • Paddling (kayak, stand up, canoe)
  • Surfing
  • Skiing/snowboarding/snowshoeing
  • Countless others
Man in a wet suit surfing a big wave.

If you are interested in day hiking or recreational paddling, etc., these adventure activities may be the only form of exercise needed to achieve your fitness goals.

However, training for more physically demanding adventures like rock climbing or long backpacking trips, may also require more traditional types of exercise.

For example, if your adventure of choice is rock climbing, you’ll likely need to do a good deal of additional strength training to become good at it. 

But the good news here is, if you’re training for something you really love, then the more traditional exercise that you may not necessarily enjoy, now has purpose. For this reason, you will be more motivated to do it so you can continue to improve at your chosen adventure.

Is Adventure Fitness The Solution To Achieving Your Goals?

It might be, if you:

  • Are simply looking to get healthier, more fit, feel better, or lose a few pounds.
  • Enjoy the outdoors.
  • Dread traditional exercise like long treadmill sessions and endless reps of strength training exercises.
  • Hate working out at the gym.
  • Have struggled to stick to traditional exercise programs in the past.

5 Ways Adventure Fitness Can Help You Stick To Your Goals

Here are 5 reasons why adventure fitness might be the answer to achieving your fitness goals.

#1 – Adventures Are Fun!

People tend to go on adventures because they find them enjoyable.

When you enjoy your exercise, then the exercise itself becomes the reward! Click To Tweet

When exercise is fun, you will have high levels of motivation to be consistent with that exercise program and make it part of your lifestyle.

Woman hiking in a cave in Arizona.
Clarissa enjoying a hike in Northern Arizona.

#2 – Who Doesn’t Want To Be An “Adventurer”?!

Identity is defined as the set of beliefs you hold about yourself. These beliefs influence your behaviors and habits which make up who you are as a person. 

Making exercise part of your identity is extremely important if you want to stick to an exercise program long-term and achieve your fitness goals.

Identity can often be expressed as “I am” statements, such as “I am an adventurer!”

These days, “Adventurer” is an identity most people would be excited to have. If this identity is successfully adopted, achieving a healthy lifestyle is much more likely.

#3 – Adventures Can Help You Live Life To The Fullest

The term “bucket list” has become so ingrained in our culture that it’s easy to forget it only came into being 13 years ago! 

But most people, whether they have written it down or not, have a bucket list. Travel, adventure, and experiences tend to be the primary items on most bucket lists. 

Many people dream of being a traveler and going on epic adventures. It’s a life goal. If this is the case for you, adventure fitness can help you live life to the fullest!

What adventurers are on your bucket list? Hiking? kayaking?

#4 – Adventures Help You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Variety is the spice of life! It’s no secret that traditional exercise can get boring pretty fast – but adventures never do! 

Whether it’s a new type of activity, or just exploring a new place, adventures help keep things exciting and often require you to step out of your comfort zone.

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch Click To Tweet

When you challenge yourself and push your limits by trying something new, you have the opportunity to grow. 

Mental toughness, courage, and confidence are all developed when we leave our comfort zones behind.  Click To Tweet
Sign that says: Leaving comfort zone, adventure ahead
Bye-bye comfort zone!

#5 – Outdoor Adventure Produces a Natural High

Being outdoors and going on adventures just feels good!

Adventure = Adrenaline Rush

Everyone has likely heard of adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that the body naturally releases in response to a perceived danger. The purpose of adrenaline is to prepare the body for the fight-or-flight response, in order to escape that danger. 

A release of adrenaline causes your heart to pound, delivering important nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, so they are ready to go to work.

You don’t have to be in true danger for adrenaline to kick in. For many people, just feeling a little nervous, or stepping out of their comfort zone can cause a spike of adrenaline. 

Hard-core adventurers have often been described as adrenaline junkies. They say adrenaline makes them feel alive, and they often begin to crave it.

Have you ever had an adrenaline rush from an adventure? It does feel pretty good!

Rappelling a waterfall in Hawaii
Clarissa rappelling a 160′ waterfall in Hawaii.

Nature Is a Natural Stress-Reducer

Exercise has been long known to decrease stress and anxiety levels, but exercising outdoors seems to lower stress and anxiety even further.

“Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in the great outdoors — especially when that's combined with exercise.” ~Lauren Friedman and Kevin Loria of Tech Insider Click To Tweet

Conclusion

If you have had trouble sticking to your fitness goals in the past, find traditional exercise tedious and boring, or hate going to the gym, adventure fitness might be right for you. 

With goals like improving general fitness, health, and looking and feeling better – the most important thing is just becoming more active. It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, so long as you are relatively consistent with it. 

Since this is the case, choosing something you enjoy makes it much more likely that you will achieve your fitness goals. 

So, let the adventures begin!

Your Turn!

Have you ever experienced any of these benefits of adventure or time in nature?

Do you think adventure fitness might be able to help you stay more consistent with your fitness goals?

What type or types of adventure would you like to work into your fitness program?

Share the knowledge!

Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

33 Replies to “Trouble Sticking To Your Fitness Goals? Try Adventure Instead!

    1. Thanks for reading Monika! There are tons of people in your shoes. I want to let them know that adventure can be exercise, and it is possible to enjoy getting in shape by being more purposeful about having these adventures!

  1. Worth a try Hannah! Even just walking more is great. When I lived in Seattle I walked so much. When I moved to Phoenix that wasn’t really possible. But it’s surprising how much walking more can make a difference! I loved how walkable Seattle was, and always find myself walking a lot when a travel as well. Thank you for reading!

  2. This is totally for me! I absolutely hate working out in a gym or running, but love hiking and getting exercise in a fun and rewarding way.

  3. “When you enjoy your exercise, the exercise itself becomes the reward!” Wow that is quite a unique perspective, worthy of a life quote I think. I’m a fitness freak but I hardly considered how much more spontaneous and fun exercising could be if it was done via hitchhiking, jetskiing and surfing. I guess its because it’s done for different reasons and so it gets overlooked for being a physical activity that can help keep people in good shape.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
    https://johnnystraventures.com

    1. Awww thanks Johnny! Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you! I think we’ve become conditioned to think everything that’s good for us is unpleasant. No pain, no gain right? But as we have learned from adventure – difficult things can be enjoyable!

      “The best view comes after the hardest climb.” ~Unknown.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and contributing to the conversation!

    1. Haha nice, Unicorn. You’re far from alone there! I’m a big believer in what I call micro-adventures. A quick hike after work on a trail close to home, or a quick paddle if you’re lucky enough to be close to water etc. Then, on our days off when there’s time, we can have full-blown adventures!

  4. Wow, I love this. I’m just starting out on an adventure and I was worried about my motivation fading, will come back to this every time I’m starting to doubt myself, thank you!

  5. I love this! I have been an avid outdoor traveller for years (camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, etc) but never considered it as a form of exercise, per se. That being said, it totally is! I think I just needed to see someone make that connection – I am guilty of the COVID weight, putting on a little extra whiel stuck at home. That being said, we’re heading out for our first camping trip July 4th and I can’t wait to see that weight melt back off again now that I’m back to the activities I love!

    1. I hear you Britt! I’m sure this whole covid thing shook everyones usual habits and routines. The good news is that research has shown that people who have been fit in the past, get into shape again faster than people that weren’t previously fit. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and I hope you have a blast on your upcoming camping trip!

    2. I hear you Britt, this whole Covid-19 thing shook up all my usual habits as well! Not to mention the shoulder surgery I’m about to have here in a couple of weeks (finally!). Fortunately for us, research has shown that people that have been fit in the past lose weight faster – it’s like our bodies remember what to do. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a blast on your upcoming camping trip!

  6. A really interesting read. I’m fairly traditional with my fitness, but do find when we get out for a hike, that I’ve really enjoyed myself and there’s a real sense of achievement.

    1. That’s great that you enjoy more traditional exercise Graham, it opens up so many more options!

      And I definitely agree about the sense of achievement with adventures! One of the cool things about this is that achievement for reaching the top of your mountain/getting to your waterfall etc. is a little more immediate than with other more traditional types of exercise.

      Of course traditional exercise has its own rewards as well, but it can often take a little longer for these to show themselves.

      When making a new habit, it’s good to have those achievements and rewards early on to reinforce the behavior. Another reason I think adventure fitness is so great for newbies!

    1. Yes, rock climbing has some dangers for sure – but depending on the level of risk you want to take on, there are lots of different options on types of climbing to choose from. But that’s part of the thrill of it!

  7. I love this! I do think that could be half of my problem though. Doing the same thing that isn’t fun or exciting is a lot harder to keep up with. Thank you for this!

    1. You’re welcome Jenn! I hear you, traditional exercise is very repetitive and monotonous! Maybe see if mixing some adventures in when you are able keeps your excitement and motivation up. Thank you for reading!

  8. I’m certainly guilty of too often overlooking active fitness when travelling. These are some interesting ideas to change up the routine, but getting to the nearest hiking trail also means a 45 minute drive each way right now.

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for reading Ben! I hear you, where you live plays a big role in how easy it is to incorporate these little micro-adventures into your routine. Sounds like hiking might be a viable option for your days off, but not so much for work days. If you do want to work in more adventure fitness than that, maybe another type like bike riding or hitting up a local rock gym or something. But also just throwing in a hike here or there when you are able can be a fun way to shake things up every now and again.

  9. It is so important to look into your actual fitness goal. Are you trying to slim, gain muscle, or get stronger? There are so many different activities we can do. We don’t need to limit ourselves! I like the adventure fitness. You see so much while being out, working out doesn’t feel like a chore!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. Absolutely Nancy! If the goal is to look and feel better or to be more healthy, just being more active is the first step. And I can’t think of a better way to make that first step easy, than by choosing an activity that is fun! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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