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The Benefits of Hiking as a Workout

You’re probably aware of how walking is such an easy and convenient way to work out. It’s free, it gets you outside, and all you need is a good pair of shoes and some time. But, why not take walking around the park to the next level and go hiking up a trail in the mountains? You can truly immerse yourself in nature, thereby detaching yourself from a busy work day and disconnecting yourself from all the emails, messages and calls. Hiking has also proven to be a more effective workout and can burn more calories than your usual afternoon stroll. Not yet sure if you should buy those hiking boots? Read on to learn how hiking is going to be your new favourite workout.

Burn more calories

According to experts, walking on uneven terrain versus moving on flat terrain with little effort can make for a more effective workout. When you’re moving over nature trails or deep-sand beaches, the heart rate and metabolic rate go up, resulting in more calories burned. A pace of 3 km per hour can help a 68 kg person burn approximately 240 calories per hour.

Strengthen your legs and your core

Hiking is a lot like working a stair climber or doing lunges, so you’ll be doing your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves a favour. Your hips, glutes and quads work extra hard as you hike as they help you maintain stability. After regular hiking over a period of time, you’ll be pleased to see firmer glutes and a pair of strong and really toned legs. Additionally, your abs, obliques and lower back work to keep your upper body stable and upright, more so when you’re carrying a pack on your back.

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More seasoned athletes can benefit from hiking, too! Especially those who are gearing up for a marathon. Cyclists and runners can also strengthen their hamstrings and improve balance. Also, hiking at high altitudes, such as 1 km or higher, will allow you to get used to exercising in a low-oxygen environment. So, on the big day of your marathon, when you’re searching for endurance and running low on oxygen, you’ll be prepared.

Fight off diseases

Among the illnesses that hiking can lower the risk of are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. There’s no doubt hiking will keep your cardiovascular system in top shape. Your triglyceride levels will also be lowered, reducing the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. A workout like hiking will also allow the glucose in your bloodstream to move, effectively lowering blood sugar levels. Some of the cancers hiking can lower the risk of having are breast and colon cancer, which have been proven to be associated with regular physical activity.

Boost your energy

Hiking is a form of aerobic activity, which means it brings extra oxygen into your system. That oxygen fuels your muscles, organs, and other body tissues, therefore strengthening them. Your endurance, alertness and overall energy levels will great benefit from this.

Elevate your mood

Exercising outdoors has proven over and over again to lift one’s mood. In Japan, some people practice “forest bathing,” which encourages you to simply be one with nature and receive all its great benefits. There are numerous studies showing how people have lowered stress and anxiety levels by exercising far from the bustling city.