This article originally appeared in Shape.
For fitness-obsessed folks [raises hand], 2020 — with its rampant gym closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic — was a year filled with major changes to workout routines.
And while some people gravitated toward online exercise classes with their favorite instructors and built dream home gyms, many others took their workout outside. Data from the Outdoor Industry Association revealed that folks flocked to the outdoors in record numbers this past year, looking for a socially distanced way to exercise. Many of these outdoor-trekking newbies were female, younger than 45, and living in an urban area, according to the OIA report.
What's more, data from outdoor app AllTrails (free for iOS and Android) and RunRepeat, a running shoe review database, shows that the number of solo hikers skyrocketed nearly 135 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
If you happen to cohabit or be partnered up with a Paul Bunyan-type, adventuring in nature might seem like just another weekend activity, but if you're uncoupled or a novice to the great outdoors, the thought of trekking alone into the wilderness might be a particularly bewildering thought — and fodder for endless horror movie scenarios: What if I'm forced to throw down with a mother bear à la Leo in The Revenant? What if I end up like Reese Witherspoon in Wild and encounter some gnarly, inbred hunters hell-bent on murdering me? Likely? No. Still scary? Heck yeah.