Like many other Americans, I too used to pay a membership fee to my local gym every month. I’d drive to the gym, spend a few hours sweating it out on a few machines in an air-conditioned, prison-like box—and I didn’t enjoy it a bit! It always felt a bit too stuffy, a bit too monotonous, and a whole lot pointless.
A few years ago, I realized came across this program offering hikes for beginners on a local trail very close to where I lived. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try—and I’ve never looked back since!
The hiking adventure was everything my weekly bouts at the gym were not! It was out in the open where I had maximum exposure to fresh, crisp air. We were taking bimonthly hikes to different trails every time and there was always something new to see and experience, successfully eliminating the monotony of pumping it out in the gym as well! Plus, the multiple physical and mental benefits a good hike provides you made hiking my newest favorite thing!
If you too have been thinking of taking up hiking as a hobby, here are a few fitness benefits to help you make your decision:
Tones the Whole Body
You’re climbing up steep hills, using trekking poles to pull yourself forward, clambering over rocks and much more during your hike. Climbing up can give your glutes, hamstrings, and quads the exercise they need to improve endurance and give you a stronger, healthier lower body.
Similarly, on any hike, you’re expected to carry a backpack holding all your requirements, which can further help you tone your upper body as you make your way up steep inclines.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Regular exercise can make your heart healthier, lowering blood pressure, ridding the body of toxins and cholesterol and effectively reducing your risk of heart diseases. Hiking downhill is twice as effective as any other kind of physical activity at eliminating blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance.
Has Healing Properties
Spending hours out in the open can boost mood, make you feel happier, healthier and fresher, and help reduce depressive moods.
Physical exercise coupled with fresh air stimulates the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, the hormones responsible for joy, peace and contentment. There’s no wonder I always feel like I’m floating on a cloud—even if my muscles are sore after a particularly grueling hike!
Just an hour of trekking can burn as much as 500 calories, but this number may vary according to the level of incline and the weight of your backpack.
Did you know that hiking trails may be gentler on your joints and heels than asphalt and concrete? Not only are you burning calories and losing weight, but you’re also helping make your bones and joints stronger!
Choosing the right daypack
While the weight of the backpack you carry plays an important role in the calories you burn and the weight you lose, an uncomfortable, too heavy backpack may actually be doing you more harm than good!
The wrong backpack can give you back and shoulder problems—ruining an excellent form of workout!
Choosing the right backpack for your hiking needs is now much easier with Aarn USA and their extended collection of daypacks. Their backpacks are lightweight, durable and spacious and manufactured according to various body types.
The author is a member of the blogging community at Aarn USA. His company offers an extensive collection of ultralight packs. These packs are easy to carry around and are made of high-quality material. For further information regarding hiking products, call the company at 801-971-0007.