Hiking as Exercise

Hiking is a wonderful activity and exercise that people of all ages can enjoy. There are many proven physical and mental benefits to hiking. Getting away from the congestion of the city and into a natural environment is a proven stress reducer.

Hiking at a decent pace increases your heart rate and provides a low impact endurance workout. Those that follow the paleo diet or a paleo lifestyle love hiking. They point to the fact that ancient man did a ton of hiking in everyday life. This type of exercise created the base of fitness that enabled man to survive and eventually flourish over tens of thousands of years.

Let us look at a few different kinds of hiking that mostly relate to the intensity and length of the hike. Beyond the leisurely hike with family, this will give you an idea of what kind of hiking will best fit into your exercise routine.

The easy hike is often no more than a few miles on a relatively flat, well maintained trail. This is a great type of hike for a recovery day as your heart and muscles won’t be too stressed. Your heart rate will likely stay in the recovery zone with little or no thought. The easy hike is a great place to start for those new to hiking or those looking to build endurance. It is also a great place to start trail running.

The moderate hike is the most common type of hike to work into a training program. These hikes are usually no more than 4 hours and rarely reach upwards of 6 miles. They will involve more elevation gain and loss and may not always be on the most well maintained trails. The moderate hike will give your leg muscles a good workout and can get your heart pumping pretty well. While well maintained trails are always nice, a slightly more challenging trail helps build balance and coordination. If your balance is lacking, take care of rough sections of trail. An ankle injury is a giant pain out on the trail. If you have read the TRX suspension trainer review, you will know that the TRX can be easily transported during a hike and set up for a wilderness workout.

The strenuous hike is often a goal in itself for avid hikers. These are serious hikes that often take the hiker deep into wilderness areas. Preparation, in terms of food and water, first aid and conditioning, for these types of hikes is essential. The strenuous hike often takes those to rewarding places that few others get to experience. When choosing a strenuous hike for the first time, make sure that it is only slightly harder than the most difficult moderate hike you have completed. The strenuousness of a hike often does not really hit until the last few miles. Exhaustion can set in quickly, so it is important to gradually increase the length and difficulty of the hikes you choose.

The oldest exercise known to man still holds great physical rewards in today’s world. I would encourage you to explore the hiking you have available in your area. Prepare yourself beforehand and enjoy.