I’m one of those people who embrace the idea of hibernation in winter.

And while hiding from the cold under piles of blankets sipping mug after mug of hot chocolate is cozy and warm, it certainly doesn’t help my state of physical fitness. By the time spring rolls around, I just want to be outside – breathing in the fresh air, soaking up the sunshine, and rebuilding those muscles that have disappeared over the winter months.  If you’re looking for a little healthy fun in the sun, here are some of my favorite ways to improve my health and renew my state of mind in Loudoun.

Cyclists and hikers are most likely familiar with two of Loudoun’s better known trails – the W&OD and Appalachian Trail. Both trails can be particularly nice this time of year as the foliage has not filled out the trees yet, making for sunnier stretches of trail and unobstructed views from the ridgeline along the AT. If you’re looking for new routes to explore, there’s another national trail passing through Loudoun County.  Following the paths explored by George Washington, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is still in development but when complete will link the Potomac and upper Ohio River basins.  Visitors can explore the park by hiking, cycling, paddling, and/or cross-country skiing.  The park’s website features some great itineraries for exploring the completed sections of Loudoun including a cycling tour and a paddle tour along the Potomac River.  Not only will you enjoy a great day of outdoor activity, but you’ll also experience some of the historic sites of Loudoun – a little bonus exercise for your brain!

If you need a little more adrenaline to kick start your spring, head west to Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center. Known for their whitewater rafting and tubing trips along the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, the folks at HFAC have been expanding their offerings in recent years to include off road Segway tours, zip line tours, camping, hiking, fishing, and new this season, an Aerial Adventure Center. With so many recreation options, there's something for every activity level.

For those looking for a more low impact excursion into the outdoors this season, check out the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Their spring calendar includes nature walks, birding walks, and more. Not only will you enjoy exploring some of the historic sites and parks in Loudoun, but you'll learn more about the flora and fauna that makes up our diverse region.