by Blake Herzog
Going off the paved path in your (hopefully) 4-wheel-drive vehicle isn’t a fitness activity, but it can be the gateway to demanding hikes, formidable rocks to climb, and biking up mountains you never thought possible.
In much the same way, the act of off-roading takes you down the road to many more benefits, in ways that may never have occurred to you but make perfect sense:
- Engages mind and body
Navigating a trail that could be rocky, dusty, slippery, muddy, steep, unpredictable, or any combination of these means you can’t make a Bluetooth call (even if you have reception) to check out a location. Your eyes, ears, arms and legs are all absorbed in keeping yourself upright and moving forward.
- Promotes learning new skills
Many studies report that learning a new skill builds new connections throughout your brain and strengthens old ones, which keeps your thinking sharp and possibly helps ward off dementia-related illnesses later in life. You’ll also need a good understanding of how your vehicle works and how to fix it when no one else is around. In time, you could become that person who goes out and helps other people who get stuck in rugged terrain.
- Teaches low-tech living
When you get beyond the reach of your data network, you start to rely on the data you and others in your group have retained over the years, and sometimes the results are really impressive. It’s always a good idea to go out with at least one other vehicle, and if you can’t, you might want to stay within enough range to at least place an emergency call when needed.
- Reconnects with nature
One of the best reasons to go off-roading is to get away from civilization and spend time camping, birding, working out, or doing anything else in nature, which lowers stress and blood pressure.