Are you looking for a way to stay fit that has a relatively low barrier to entry? Hiking is an excellent way to not only keep fit, but enjoy the great outdoor at the same time; all you have to do is lace up a pair of durable walking shoes and get yourself to the countryside. Kicking one foot in front of the offer has a number of benefits for your mind, body and wallet. Here are just five of them:
It helps with weight loss
As with any form of exercise, do it often enough and you’ll see the benefits in the mirror for yourself. Hiking is great because it’s easily adjustable to your current level of fitness – all it requires is a bit of research. You could start off on a relatively flat, well maintained route, or kick it up a notch and go for an uphill mountainous trek. A particular strenuous hill can burn a similar amount of calories to jogging.
It’s good for your bones
Going on regular hikes is a fantastic way to keep your bones strong and prevent the effects of vitamin D deficiency. Walking is a great weight-bearing exercise because it puts different levels of pressure on your bones. Not only does it help develop a healthy bone structure, the vitamin D you receive from sun benefits your mood as well as your bones.
It’s easy to start
Walking is probably one of the most accessible forms of exercise going. You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment, memberships or lessons. Craigdon Mountain Sports has a varied selection of outdoor clothing that’s suitable for ramblers of all ages. Picking a pair of walking trousers that are lightweight and water resistant will make tackling any walk or hike a lot easier. Their autumn and winter clothing are perfect for those who are willing to brave the colder weather.
You don’t have to have a mountain on your doorstep to make the most of the terrain available to you. Ease yourself into it by simply walking around your neighbourhood. After that, you can do your research online to find more challenging country walks.
It improves your cardiovascular activity
Once you find your footing and start to push yourself on more challenging walks, hiking becomes an incredibly beneficial aerobic exercise. Pushing yourself up and down uneven terrain gets your heart pumping and improves your overall level of fitness. Once hiking has become part of your routine, you can expect to see increased levels of stamina and to reduce your risk of heart disease. It is very important to plan out your hike ahead of time. The American Hiking Society have a number of great hiking tips to look over before you go.
It improves muscle tone
Once you have graduated from the well-maintained country trails, cross country walks and other more difficult treks are a great way to improve muscle tone. Trails with some elevation or uneven ground are great because your body and legs have to work much harder.
Hiking is great but everyone has different tastes. If you have the need to speed and prefer to get things going a little quicker, our article on endurance running is a good place to start.