Focus on Fitness

Think of getting in shape.

Think of running, biking and swimming. Think of  lifting weights, doing pushups, squats and stretching.

There’s got to be a bit of pain involved, right? No pain, no gain? So there has to be plenty of sweat and breaking down muscles so you can build them up again, bigger and stronger. This is how you stay firm and fit.

Or is it?

There is another way. It involves driving. It involves walking. It involves seeking out sunsets and sunrises, clouds and rainbows, crashing waves and calm waters.

Ah, you won’t be running any marathons, but you’ll enjoy yourself while snapping your way into better shape.

It works. Just ask Marshall Johnson.

The man from Austin, Texas, was on Ke Ala Hele Makale, packing his Nikon D7100 and a camera bag with a few lenses. He figured he had walked several miles, after parking at Kealia Beach, searching out just the right shot.

He didn’t quite find what he was after, he said, because the lighting just wasn’t right. Still, while the photos didn’t happen as hoped, Johnson achieved his second goal: Working out while on vacation.

He says he’s lost probably in the 20-pound range in the past year since taking up photography. When he’s not at his day job in construction, he loves to travel and shoot pictures. That means plenty of walking, hiking, evening biking, camera strapped to his back. He watches what he eats to be sure he’s fit enough to keep moving as he seeks to fill frames.

“This is a great way to burn some calories without going to the gym,” he  said, laughing.

True enough.

Because you can pick up a solid digital camera and lenses for less than a grand, it doesn’t take a huge investment in equipment to be outfitted and ready to get out there.

We’re not claiming you can become a professional photographer. We are claiming you can become a good photographer and improve fitness at the same time.

All you need is the desire to get off the couch, a bit of vision, and go some place. Any place.

Skeptical?

I can tell you from personal experience that miles of uphill hiking pass by quickly when I’ve got a camera in hand and I’m watching for cool scenes around each turn in the trail. The rewards are threefold: Learn and hone a skill, see new places, gain new levels of fitness.

Further, for those with high-stress jobs, for those looking for something to do, photography might even keep you out of the gym and the doctor’s office.

“Photography is a recommended outdoor activity for the bored and stressed out people like you,” according to www.healthbuffer.com. “The pictures you take are a unique piece to add to your collection, your pride, and your simple joys in life.”

On a place with the beauty of Kauai, with all the sights, the beaches, the trails, the sunsets, if you like photography, you came to the right place.

According to www.freezingart.com, there are numerous health benefits of photography.

• It can encourage you to spend more time with nature because most of the interesting contents for your pictures will be found outside. As a result, you can get fresh air, sunlight, and a change of scenery when you hike up the mountains or walk through the fields.

• If you have a condition that does not permit you to go on long treks, you can go to your garden or take short trips around your neighborhood, parks, and other near places that offer wonderful views. It matters not where you choose to go, as long as you get some exercise and fantastic scenery to capture through your lens.

• Taking pictures of the great outdoors can make you emotionally healthy because you can do this activity with your family and friends. This is a good way to strengthen relationships, and get rid of loneliness and depression.

• Pictures of nature are believed to create positive emotions that can help you to relax and brighten your mood.

• You can start to build self-confidence as you gain more skills and experiences as a photographer.

• Finally, your new hobby might even improve your financial health because you can use your skills to earn extra income.

In the seven months I’ve been on Kauai, I have yet to dedicate myself to photography like I’ve hoped. But I have managed to still get out and snap a few shots worth sharing. It makes those outings even more unforgettable.

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