Hiking is a term used for a long, vigorous outdoor walk for recreational purposes. It is usually done on trails or off trails. It is the preferred term used in the United States and Canada.
The best thing about hiking is that it encompasses the entire range – from a gentle walk to mountain climbing. It is suitable for everyone and there is no need for being young and athletic.
Benefits of Hiking
Besides giving a good cardiovascular workout to a person, there are many other benefits of hiking. Some unique benefits (physical and mental) include:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improves a person’s blood sugar and blood pressure levels
- Being a weight-bearing exercise, it improves bone density
- Build strength in a person’s glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip muscles, and lower leg muscles
- Strengthen the core muscles
- Improves balance
- Help in controlling weight
- Boosts your mood. Hiking positively impacts a person's mental health by combating anxiety and stress
Stepping it up
One can get more out of hiking by following these fitness-boosting strategies.
The best hike for a beginner is a short, local hike. Gradually, you work up the trail by using uneven terrain or hills.
Using the poles not only helps in providing balance, but also helps in reducing the knee pressure. Using the pole also enables in working up the upper body muscles giving a strong cardio workout.
Use a hill for hiking. The incline present in the small hill is enough for increasing the heart rate and burning more calories. A 10% incline allows a person to burn 30% to 40% more calories.
Bump it Up
Hiking on uneven terrain works up muscles while improving stability.
Pack Extra Weight
Stock up extra weight in your daypack. Having a daypack weighing 10 to 15 pounds can help in boosting calorie burning by 15%. It also helps in strengthening the lower back muscles.
Getting Into The Groove
On the days when hiking is not possible, power walking on a hilly terrain carrying different types of weight in the daypack will not only keep the hiking skills on the track, but also hone it.
Tips For Making Hike More Enjoyable
Use Maps and Take a Buddy Along
Having a buddy during hiking trips is good for the company as well as safety. If you plan to go alone, keep your loved ones and family informed and inform the approximate time of return.
Wear Proper Footwear
While planning a hiking trip, make sure you have a pair of well-fitting footwear that offers good ankle support. Break the shoe in by using it for shorter walks. The last thing you want while going hiking is a blister.
Take plenty of water while going for a hike. Staying hydrated is important as you are losing a lot of water during the walk, this is more important during warm, sunny weather.