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3 Challenge Goals For Getting Fit in the Arkansas Outdoors

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It’s a new year, and although I’m not one for making “resolutions,” it’s a good opportunity to reflect on the past year and set some goals for the coming year. I know you’re thinking, “that sounds like a resolution to me!” But it’s different. Resolutions are often about outcomes and typically overlook the journey required to reach the outcome.

Hear me out. Let’s say I resolve to lose 30 pounds. The intended outcome is a smaller number on the scale, but my resolution doesn’t address how I will lose 30 pounds. I can say I will eat healthier or cut out carbs or exercise more, but the focus is still on the outcome.

I think we can all agree that being fit and healthy isn’t entirely about the number on the scale. So, this year, I’m challenging you to focus on the journey toward getting fit and healthy by setting some fun goals to spend more time in the Arkansas outdoors. The final outcome could be that you lose 30 pounds. It could be that you gain 10 pounds of muscle. Or it could be that you got more fresh air, more vitamin D, got sick less, spent more time with friends and family and got to experience the beautiful state of Arkansas in a whole new way. Either way, let’s make 2022 all about the journey and the adventure – the outcome is just a positive side effect.

How do I get started? I like to set a goal for the year. In 2020, my family logged over 1,000 hours outdoors. It was a lofty challenge, but our lifestyle allowed for it, and we felt so accomplished when we hit our milestone in September of that year. In 2021, we aimed to hike 25 different trails in Arkansas. We traversed some old favorites and discovered some new gems along the way. We haven’t officially selected our goal for 2022, but we’ve got several in mind.

365 Mile Challenge

For the 365 Mile Challenge, the idea is to get out and get moving. You can hike, walk, bike, climb, swim or paddle. You can do it in your own backyard or travel the state. Move an average of a mile a day for a total of 365 miles in a year. Not sure where to start?

Hike – Hike to Glory Hole Waterfall
Walk – 25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Bike – 8 Stunning Mountain Bike Trails
Climb – Hiking, Biking and Climbing Rattlesnake Ridge
Swim – Escape the Winter Chill By Swimming Indoors
Paddle – 4 Places for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

52 Parks/52 Weeks

Arkansas is home to 52 beautiful state parks, and you could visit a different park each week for the entire year. Many people have taken on the 52 Arkansas State Parks Challenge and are using the State Parks Passport or State Parks Scratch-off Map to track their progress. Even if you can’t see all 52 parks in a single year, it’s a great long-term goal.

History of Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Frozen In Time: Powhatan State Park
Explore Van Winkle Hollow in Hobbs State Park
Take a Trip Through History at Devil’s Den State Park
10 Things to Know When Visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park
Ozark Folk Center State Park

Iron Ranger Challenge

The Iron Ranger Challenge began in 2016 and is designed to encourage people to spend time in Arkansas’s public land areas. Participants log their miles and can earn an Iron Ranger patch. Details for 2022 haven’t been released just yet, but the process will be the same as the 2021 Iron Ranger Challenge. For this challenge, you can hike, paddle, bike or move about in any way you like to meet the goal of 100 miles in Arkansas public lands.

8 Epic Mountain Bike Trails in Northwest Arkansas
Hit the Bike Trails of Arkansas
Hike Villines Homestead Trail on the Buffalo River
6 Natural State Outdoor Activities to do this Winter
Craighead Forest Park

How do you plan to enjoy the journey and experience the Arkansas Outdoors in 2022? I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell me your challenge goals for getting fit this year!

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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