Hiking offers many health benefits, including giving you a great cardio workout that can help boost your mood, lower heart disease risk, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, strengthen your core, improve balance, build strength in your glutes, quads, hamstrings as well as your hip and leg muscles. Additionally, since hiking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can help support bone density and health.
Here are some tips for a great hiking experience:
If you’re a beginner at hiking, then start out slowly. Find a place locally where you can take a short hike. Then, over time, you can work up to hiking trails that have hills or uneven terrain.
If you are a more experienced hiker, then you can go ahead and add some inclines to your hiking—even if it’s starting out with small hills, which can bump up your heart rate and help you burn extra calories. For instance, a five percent to 10 percent incline can increase your calorie burning by 30 to 40 percent.
Adding some weight is an option, too. Fill your backpack or daypack with items you need, such as water or healthy snacks. Not only does it help you stay hydrated or nourished while hiking, but also adds some weight to your hike, which can also help you strengthen back muscles and burn more calories—due to the added weight. You can also mix up the terrain, since uneven ground works muscles differently and helps to improve stability and balance.
Don’t forget about your upper body getting a workout while hiking. You can use poles—digging into the ground and pushing yourself forward can work your upper-body muscles and boost your cardio workout. A few other tips are to hike with a buddy and to become familiar with the hiking trails before you head out. You’ll also want to keep tabs on the weather and to dress accordingly, and be sure to follow marked trails.
Have fun—and happy trails to you!
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.