Things to Do

Start 2018 Off on the Right Foot with a Hike in a State Park

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When the New Year’s Eve ball has dropped and all of the Christmas leftovers are a distant memory, consider getting out and doing something active for New Year’s Day this year – like a hike. Did you know that many Texas State Parks host First Day Hikes in the parks? First Day Hikes vary from short, leisurely nature walks through forested trails and along boardwalks, to climbs into the mountains of the Chihuahuan Desert. State park staff and volunteers will guide most hikes and will talk about native plants, animals, or park history along the way. Many walks average one to two miles in length, with shorter or longer treks available. A few parks will even offer runs or paddles. There’s something for everyone!

More Than 7,000 Calories Consumed on Christmas Day

christmas dinner

Photo: Pixabay/wirdefalks

According to ABC News, the average person eats more than 7,000 calories on Christmas day alone, research carried out by Associated British Foods recently found. That’s more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake. Combining information about today’s eating habits with historical data, the British study estimated that this number is still nearly twice the number of holiday calories people ate on Christmas during World War II.

Hiking: Accessible and Free

Hike

Photo: Pixabay/Hermann

Hiking is an accessible exercise that is incredibly beneficial to the human body. Hiking exercises almost every part of your body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips and butt, abdominals, shoulders and neck. “Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination,” says Ignacio Malpica, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boulder, Colorado. “It creates awareness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses.”

Regular aerobic exercise, such as hiking, also lowers your risk of early death. (If you are active for 7 hours a week, your risk of dying early is 40% lower than someone active for less than 30 minutes a week.) It’s also a great way to spend time with friends and family while enjoying the fresh air and all of the nature that Texas State Parks have to offer. For a complete list of parks that are hosting a First Day Hike, visit the website for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

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