Walking comes naturally, so why not begin hiking for health? Blazing a trail can be a great workout.
To get started, you'll need proper footwear, a way to stay hydrated, sunscreen, and a day pack stocked with smart snacks. Once you have your supplies, you'll be hiking for health in no time. Put together a checklist before heading out to make sure you have everything you will need.
Nature's Cross-Training Workout
If you are a runner or cyclist, hiking can be a welcome addition to your fitness routine. Hiking is a low-impact workout that can make for great strength training. You may even wake up some muscles you forgot about! This is because hiking can activate your hamstrings, which may not get as much of a workout through more standard exercise. Plus, you'll be working your quadriceps, calves, glutes, abs, and hip muscles—all while building endurance and stamina.
Strengthen Your Core
If you are walking uphill, or up and down tough terrain, your core will be engaged to keep your body upright. A strong core has a bunch of benefits, including reduced back pain, better posture, and help with everyday activities like heavy lifting, twisting, and even gardening, explains Harvard Medical School.
So, yes, hiking will tone your legs, but it will also improve your balance, including the strong core muscles needed to retain your stability. You'll burn calories going on any type of hike, but adding a pack or opting for demanding terrain will increase your calorie burn and your core workout.
Friendships and Happiness
Aside from physical toning, hiking can benefit your mindset and your social life as well. A beautiful scene—from forests to open waters—can bring you happiness. Exercise produces endorphins, so you may find hiking will actually bring joy to your life. Many also like to hike with friends and family. So, ask a friend to join your hiking workout, and you can both get fit and keep an eye on each other, too.
Whether you have never hiked before or are a regular on the trails, you can improve your life when hiking for health. Of course, it is important to stay safe. So, watch the weather before heading out and be sure you have all the supplies you need, from water to granola. Then, take advantage of good weather when it comes, skip the gym, get outside, and start hiking for health.
Do you have a favorite hike? We'd love to see a photo! Tweet us at @TomsofMaine and use the hashtag #GoodMatters.
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Why It’s Good
Hiking feels great and promotes health and well-being. Walking comes naturally, so why not up the ante and hike for health! While you hike, you can enjoy nature and get fit at the same time.