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Cure Cabin Fever & Take a Walk

While everyone is stuck at home, you can still get outside

Chris Oritz Staff Reporter
4 min read
Enjoy WALKING & HIKING With These Apps

Apps Mentioned in Video

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Now that I’ve been quarantined, running is essential. It’s a great stress reliever and has turned into a form of gratitude.
- Kerri South, a mom in Albuquerque, New Mexico,

If you’re feeling restless or uneasy, you could have a case of cabin fever. And the cure for cabin fever is cowbell. No, not really. The cure is outdoor physical activity.

Indeed, being indoors for long periods of time and remaining inactive can have a host of negative effects on you, including weight gain, strength loss, weaker bones, hormonal imbalances, and poor blood circulation, according to a report from the Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas. Getting outdoors and going for a brisk walk or run can improve your physical health, mood, and even your mental health.

LeAnn Smith has been a virtual trainer for over 2 years and a trainer for over a decade. As a virtual trainer, Smith works with clients via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and other platforms. She said virtual sessions are quite similar to a typical training session. Smith said she encourages her clients to get a daily dose of fresh air.

“Walking is a great form of moving meditation which relaxes the mind and body,” she said. “We know about the physical benefits of walking but I find the mental benefits are so important nowadays.”

So, to track your outdoor walks, use an app like Map My Walk. This GPS-enabled app can help log every walking path you take in real-time. It can also help you track calories burned, distance, and average pace. The app has a community feature where you can join challenges and even win prizes. There are free and premium versions of the app.

“When I go for a walk, it clears my mind,” said Smith. “I can process problems, thoughts, and issues more clearly. I return home refreshed and ready to take on the rest of my day. No matter your age everyone can benefit from a walk.”

Every Race Begins With That First Step

Running or walking a 5K can feel daunting, especially for anyone who has never run a race before.

Kerri South, a mom from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was not an active runner but when a friend asked her to run a 5K with her, she decided to change that. South said she watched the movie, “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” about an out-of-shape woman who decides to train and run the New York City Marathon.

“I decided if she could do it, so could I,” South said.

She began using the Couch to 5K app that helps people run their first race.

“The app helps me build up my pace,” she said. “I can play music the app provides and I get cues when to walk, run, halfway and a minute left to cool down. My sister also uses the app so that’s a little added motivation. Now that I’ve been quarantined, running is essential. It’s a great stress reliever and has turned into a form of gratitude.”

If you’re logging the miles, why not walk for a good cause while you’re at it? Charity Miles is an app that helps you raise money for charity while you go on your daily walks. When you download the app, you choose which charity you’re walking for. You can get family and friends to sponsor your walks. You set a goal and supporters can sponsor you for as little as 5 cents per mile.

Get Lost … But Not Too Lost

Sure, it’s great to escape the daily stress of life and go for a walk but you don’t want to escape too far where you can’t find your way back. It’s always a good idea to have an idea of where you’re heading and how to get back home.

With that being said, ViewRanger is an app that helps you discover hiking trails and walking paths near you. The app has over 180,000 routes. You can view elevation, difficulty levels, and user reviews. And most helpful - you get a map of the trail that you can download to your phone so you’re not reliant on reception.

Gwyneth Doland, a New Mexico-based writer, said she uses the Argus app for its GPS feature, which is “incredibly helpful when you're on a hike out of cell range.” Doland recalled an outing where she had taken a photo of the map, but once on the route, it didn’t feel like it was following the map.

“I was a little paranoid because it was fall with weird weather and I knew it could hail or snow anytime, and there was no cell service,” she said. “So I kept looking at Argus and then back at the picture of the map and about halfway through I realized: Oh, we're doing it backward. The picture in the book was a mirror image of the line on Argus. We had started at the end of the trail, that's why nothing seemed right. So I always use it for hikes.”

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Cure Cabin Fever & Take a Walk