Hiking Can Be Full Of Adventure
You can leisurely hike and enjoy your surroundings, chat with a friend, or daydream as you check out nature, but you also have the option of finding your inner hiking guru and stepping up your hike into a calorie-blasting athletic adventure.
Hiking can always be full of adventure, fun, sweat, and burned calories, but as with all kinds of exercise, it’s lately what you make of it. A good piece of advice is to get on the trail, enjoy yourself and see how hiking can help you to stay in shape.
Here are 4 tips to get a good hiking experience:
- Give trail running a try to increase the intensity of your hike. If you’re not ready for running, try alternating between power walking and jogging.
- The steeper the hill, the harder your body has to work. Spend time finding a hike with a challenging incline.
- Training at a higher altitude has many health benefits and can improve your overall fitness level. However, it’s something you should build up to slowly.
- Start out on mostly flat trails and build up to sandy or rocky surfaces. Walking on uneven terrain forces all of the small under-worked muscles and tendons in your feet and ankles to get strong.
Here are 5 awesome reasons to go hiking:
- Physical activity burns calories and slow and steady cardiovascular activity promote fat burning. Hiking, combined with good nutrition, can lead to significant weight and fat loss.
- The rugged and varied terrain of most hiking trails forces your body to stabilize itself, in time improving your balance and coordination.
- Engaging in mild to moderate-intensity exercise is linked to improvements in lung capacity and increased cardiac function.
- There is something about discovering new trails and being outside that is fun. Taking time out of your busy day to connect with friends, while doing an activity such as hiking, can improve your mood.
- Taking time out from your busy life and enjoying the outdoors can relieve stress, while the stimulus of enjoying nature––the sights, smells and textures––can make you feel more mentally alert.
Hiking offers a variety of benefits, both physical and mental. Some benefits may be immediate (such as reduced blood pressure and stress levels, heightened focus, and an increase in immune function), whereas other benefits may develop over time, such as weight loss and a decrease in depression.
Hiking helps increase the strength in the leg muscles, builds stability in the core muscles, and enhances balance skills. The more technical the terrain is, along with an increase in climbing intensity, the more balance and core strength are required because more muscles are being recruited to manage the steeper terrain. As you climb, the larger muscles in your legs are activated (such as the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves), and on the descent, your glutes and quadriceps are working hard to prevent you from falling forward on the decline. Uneven terrain means many of the smaller stabilizer muscles are being worked on, which increases stability and balance overall.
The intensity of a hike can be altered to fit the ability of the person hiking, from a simple hiking path in a neighborhood to a challenging climb up a mountain, which makes hiking accessible to all abilities and across all ages. The hillier the trail is, the harder your heart will work, therefore increasing the potential cardiovascular benefit.