Checking into a gym facility is a brilliant way of getting fit. It requires a lot of discipline and motivation to transform an unhealthy lifestyle into an active and healthy routine.
When working out in a gym or at home becomes too mundane, it is easy to slip back into the comfort zone of skipping exercise or performing less. Apart from mixing workouts, scheduling an outdoor exercise activity such as hiking will spruce things up and maintain high energy levels for an extended period.
What are the health benefits of hiking?
- Burns calories. Analysis results indicate that taking a one hour hike burns at least 500 calories. The number of calories burnt varies with the angle of the trekking path and the weight of the backpack. The steeper the hill, the more calories are reduced. A hiking trail is a great aid to staying on track for an hour because the ground is softer on the ankles and knees unlike when walking on a tarmacked road.
- Hiking downhill has a tremendous effect on lessening blood sugar levels. Muscle movement flushes out excess sugars and improves glucose tolerance. Diabetes patients can improve their health condition by scheduling hiking expeditions and stiffening the challenges progressively.
- Toning the body. Hiking exercises all of the body’s muscles while propelling upwards or downwards on an incline. The glutes, quads and hamstrings receive maximum workouts hence tone the legs and butt. A backpack increases the endurance of the upper body and tones the back.
- Strengthens immunity. The International Journal of Sports Medicine published a report citing the effects of hiking on cancer patients. The increased antioxidants strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms and accelerate healing.
- There have been numerous case studies over the course of history explaining the connection between physiology and the physical body. Stanford University established that engaging in physical activity heightens creativity which is essential in maintaining an enthusiastic spirit. Taking a break from the fast tech world syncs the body with nature’s vibrational frequency hence fosters a feeling of peace.
Hiking essentially requires only one’s presence and energy. In most cases, people regard hiking as a sporty recreational activity. Some people realize early on the mental and physical demands of hiking an arduous terrain and hence prepare intensively for the forthcoming trip. Additionally, a hiking trip that lasts over two days can take a toll on the body and mind without proper training. The coach of StrongSwiftDurable, Jordan Smothermon, states that a fit hiker ought to be prepared for extremities such as changes in weather.
How to prepare for hiking
- Get physically fit. Exercises that focus on the lower body will increase resistance strength by working out essential muscles. These workouts include crunches, squats, deadlifts, step ups, lunges and pushups. It is advisable to start preparing weeks in advance to have room for resistance training by adding extra weights every week.
- Get mentally fit. The intangibles of looking forward to a trip and adding humor to the anticipation are more crucial than the actual workouts. It is this attitude that will propel an inactive person to enjoy hiking and possibly reap long term benefits.
- Prepare essentials to carry on the hike. Hike gear can vary depending on the length and intensity of the trek. People camping for days to hike will need more than a simple backpack while a four hour hike only requires the fundamentals. Both scenarios require essentials like a map, compass, sunscreen, hiking attire, hydration and basic toiletries. While a hike is an opportune time to take a break from technology, long gone are the days for using a large map to navigate terrains. Technology minimizes a hiker’s backpack and maximizes the health benefits.
The fusion of technology and fashion has made possible the creation of genius gears that provide real time feedback on the body’s reaction. Smartphones and tablets are also extensions of the human body with the innumerable software developed to help a user maintain bodily functions like heart rate and calories. Some of these tech have extensive positive impact on a hiker’s trekking expedition.
Technology devices to carry on a hike
1. Heart Rate Monitors
These devices track exercise intensity and are useful in helping hikers maintain a steady pace. Some monitors have the integration of the accelerometer and can give a conclusive report on duration, intensity, pattern of movement and frequency.
2. SAR Drones
Carrying a GPS enabled phone is an inexpensive way to stay on track. Drones are suitable for long distant hiking that may require the participants to acquire a preview of the entire landscape before starting the journey. SAR drones are also convenient for tracking a missing hiker and are an affordable alternative to helicopters.
3. Waterproof Gaiters
Sturdy boots are an obvious consideration even for newbie hikers. Gaiters are becoming increasingly popular for their protection in wet soaked grounds. These can be used alongside the regular socks and boots to ward off cold temperatures.
4. Waterproof Cell Phones
Not so long ago, the only way hikers maintained communication with the outside world as well as a functional GPS was to wrap their cell phones in a polythene bag. Nowadays, waterproof cell phones are on the rise for the benefits they provide users in extreme weather conditions.
5. Non-electronic Chargers
Hikers have a mild understanding of living life outside the grid. They have to rely on alternative energy sources to cook and enjoy the expedition without the benefits of most electronics. To maintain the functional ability of the electronics carried on a hike, some chargers such as solar chargers and wood burning stoves can power devices like phones and tablets.
Hiking is a primary way to build a fit lifestyle and spice up a dull routine. The beautiful outdoors and milestone challenges are stimulating to anyone. It is important to backpack correctly and build on speed, strength and balance to maintain a suitable posture and pace on a hike. More importantly, it is vital to remember to enjoy the simple hiking pleasures while simultaneously building up the challenges.