Hiking: The Next Greatest Aerobic Workout

Hiking is one of the most healthy aerobic sports one can participate in. Involving not only use of the leg, arm and torso muscle groups, hiking into higher elevations provides for lung capacity endurance and strength. Offering a great diversion from a gym or street walk, hiking is an excellent cardiovascular work out for the entire family. Understanding the health benefit of hiking, preventing injury and preparing for hiking trips, will ensure a more pleasant and enjoyable walking experience for many years..

As a cardiovascular activity, hiking lends its most recent popularity in the significant benefits in terms of weight loss, preventing osteoporosis and decreasing blood pressure. Mentally and emotionally, hiking offers both nature enthusiast and those without an affinity for the outdoors, an opportunity to obtain the recommended aerobic workout while enjoying the beauty of the hills and mountains of the country. At higher elevations, the views are breathtaking, often the underlying motivator factor behind an amateur hiker’s motivation to begin a hiking fitness program.

To ensure a pleasant and enjoyable hiking experience, hikers of all experience levels should be mindful of very basis aerobic activity safety guidelines including the use of appropriate footwear. While specialty footwear is available for a hiking eperience, basic aerobic type tennis shoes will suffice. Prior to hiking, inspect the shoes to ensure adequate tread is present as treading is the mechanism by which hiking is successful across lakes and ponds. In addition to footwear, listening to your body for clues of fatigue or injury, stay hydrated by using your own water. When hiking, carry light products to ensure as little added weight and fatigue when reaching higher elevations. Using water bottles and nutrient bars, staying energized for the trip up and then down the mountain, or across the terrain.

In addition to these basic food and hiking gear guidelines, hikers should also be cognitive of foot approach in areas such as streams and lakes, keeping knees bent on hills and slopes and always dress in layers as climate and oxygen temperatures change with elevation. In addition to walking methods, utilizing a stick or cane, to boost into higher levels, is recommended so as to ensure less fatigue at the end of the adventure.

As with most fitness or aerobic activities, hiking can result in extreme fatigue, injury or illness. Preparation is the key to an exciting hiking experience. When venturing to areas off of the beaten path, or climbing tall mountain ridges, connect with nature and experience the emotional and spiritual connection. By doing so, not only is a physical work out obtained but, in the days following the hiking experience, the emotional and mental connection with the world will improve significantly.

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