And know you’re burning calories every step along the way.
Fall is in the air, leaves are changing, and temperatures are dropping. Why not take advantage of the great weather by spending some time outside?
Rather than being stuck in the gym or on the treadmill in your family room watching Food Network, plan to get your workout surrounded by nature. A great way to get your exercise outdoors is by hiking. Go solo or bring the family. If you can walk up and down a flight of stairs, you can go hiking. In the event you have a child that’s too small for hiking, toss them in a carrier on your back. They can enjoy the scenery, and the kids who can hike will be reminded of how much fun exercise can be.
Read on for tips on planning your next hiking adventure.
Benefits of Hiking
The physical exertion and body movements necessary to hike make it a total body workout. You’ll use muscles you don’t usually use during your workouts in the gym. Going up hills, down hills, over logs, around rocks, and carrying a pack will challenge your body in new ways. Choose a trail that fits your fitness level, starting with a low level of difficulty and work your way to a more challenging hike as you progress.
And you may need to start easier than you think. An hour of hiking can easily work off 530 calories, but those calories don’t just fall off your body. It takes some work. But should you accept the challenge, you can easily burn off the cheeseburger and soda you had for lunch.
Hiking isn’t only good for your body, but it’s good for your brain. Get away from the stress at work, the chore list at home, and the fast pace of the city and out into the quiet beauty of nature. You will feel your mind relaxing as you enjoy the scenery and the escape from the busyness of life.
Where to Go?
If you’re unfamiliar with trails near your home, there are many websites that can help you locate what you seek. Many sites will tell you the length of the trial and will rate the level of difficulty. Novice hikers or families will probably want to look for a trail with a low level of difficulty starting out. Some sites will also include pictures of the scenery you can expect to see on the hike and provide reviews from previous hikers.
Another way to find places to hike is to stop by an outdoor-type store in your area, and ask employees for references. Or if you live near national parks or national forests, you should be able to find trails with little trouble. Just look for those telltale signs that lead you to the trails!
The type of equipment you need to hike will depend on the location of the trail, the type of trail, the weather, and the length of time you’ll be hiking. Some trails are fairly primitive, while others are paved. Some are on level ground, and others are rather mountainous. Supportive walking shoes may work fine for some trails, but hiking boots may be more appropriate for more difficult trails.
Since your hike will take you into the great outdoors, take insect repellant and sunscreen—and use both. Also, wear layers of clothes to stay comfortable in the weather. You may find a walking stick or special hiking poles helpful to maneuver through the terrain.
Depending on the length of your hike, carry a small pack that contains enough water and snacks to keep you comfortable on the trail. Trail mix is an easy choice. It’s a simple, yummy snack that provides a healthy balance of carbs for energy and protein to fill you up. One of the most classic combinations is raisins, other dried fruits, nuts, dry cereal, and small candies. Make your own or buy it prepackaged at the store.
Of course, before heading out, you’ll also need a first-aid kit. Pack in a few bandages, some antibiotic ointment, tweezers, and whatever else you may need based on the area where you’ll be hiking.
Simply put, you stretch to increase and improve the range of motion your body has. As maximum range of motion is necessary to a full life, stretching should be a part of your daily routine.
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