One of my favorite parts of staying active is getting out of my home gym and outside.

I am an outdoors girl and anytime the weather is nice or I am able to get outside and get moving I will. So I thought it was only fitting to talk about one of my favorite outdoor fitness activities on Earth Day: hiking.

Happy #EarthDay everyone!

About a year ago a co-worker of mine was raving about a local hiking trail. I had hit the Katy Trail while in college a few times, but had never really been hiking on a regular basis and, although I had lived in my hometown all my life, I had never heard of this trail. So curiosity got the best of me and my girlfriends and I decided to check out this mysterious hiking spot in our backyard. WE FELL IN LOVE! We began to plan days to get out in the woods and hike up the bluffs in the Illinois Ozarks, in which we live. Soon enough we decided to branch out and explore other trails within an hour driving distance.

Emily, Abby and I hiking

My friends and I celebrating after a day hiking excursion.

See, all of us each had a desire to get out and get moving. All of us have been friends most our lives, some of us athletes and then athletes no longer competing in organized competition like school sports, some of us struggling with weight. Through our own journeys, we all found the importance of staying fit and finding our own idea of wellness in our lives. It has been exciting to see our friendships develop over the years and now become stronger through our desire for healthy living. If you can find a group or someone to plan fun days, meals and activities around your goal of wellness, it makes the experience that much more fun. We were once planning days of partying and are now planning days of activities (that may involve a celebratory cocktail at the end — you have to enjoy life and reward yourself too.)


It can also become great family time. Although I do not have a family of my own yet, it is special to see parents and their kids in their hiking gear all spending time together on the trails.

My dad also got the itch to try out the trail and experience its spectacular scenic views after, I too, ranted and raved. This weekend, never hiking before and not quite in the same shape he was 15-20 years ago, I took him out hiking and he rocked it! I am so proud of my dad for mastering those hills, all the while saying, “Man, I am not in the same shape I used to be in.” He never stopped though, he kept going. And when we reached the top and he looked out over the beautiful Mississippi River Bottoms, he knew the juice was worth the squeeze.


So on this Earth Day, I encourage you to look up ways to get active outside in your community. Not only is being outside refreshing, helps clear the mind, a way to get your Vitamin D, and a way to keep your workouts fresh and exciting, in many cases, its also free!