Hiking for Health and Happiness
When many people think about hiking they picture a family or couple walking calmly through fields, or pottering up the side of a not-very-steep hill, sticks in hand. But hiking can be about so much more than just enjoying the outdoors - although that is a big part of it of course!
Hiking has proven health benefits which make it an ideal way to keep fit and improve overall health levels by reducing stress, improving breathing and providing you with a good cardio- vascular workout, depending on the intensity of your hike.
Hiking as a Physical Workout
Getting and staying in shape can often prove to be an arduous task which many people end up putting off time and time again. But get-fit regimes don't have to be strenuous, boring or lonely, nor do they have to cost the earth. Hiking is a free, all-inclusive and fun way to improve your physical health and enjoy yourself at the same time.
Aerobic conditioning can be improved when hiking, simply by varying your movements along the trail. Combine steady walking with brisk interludes, peppered with short bouts of running, jumping and skipping, to get your heart pumping and improve circulation throughout your body.
Muscle strength can be improved whilst hiking by packing weights in your rucksack, or wearing weighted wristbands or ankle bands to increase resistance. With these types of aids you don't have to hike fast, you just need to be consistent. But, unlike trying to force yourself to go to the gym so many times a week, hiking is enjoyable enough to mean that you'll find you have to force yourself to stay at home!