• Does exercising in a gym bore you? Why not discover the benefits of hiking? With Spring just around the corner this is a great way to explore the outdoors and a great way to get into shape.

    Who says getting into shape has to be tedious and boring? One of the most stimulating forms of exercise is hiking. With the ever changing scenery and the sweet smell of fresh air to inspire and motivate you, you’ll never get bored of this type of exercise. You can do it alone or bring along an exercise companion so you can both enjoy the pleasures of nature while getting into shape. What are the benefits of hiking as a form of exercise?

    Low Impact

    Even though hiking can be a tough workout, depending upon the terrain you choose, there’s minimal stress on the joints since you’re never lifting more than one foot off the ground at a time. This makes it a good form of exercise for people with arthritis, although you should check with your doctor before starting and choose trails that have relatively even terrain. The constant leg movements associated with hiking helps to strengthen the leg muscles which can take some of the pressure off of the knee joints.

    Tones the Lower Body

    You get an excellent toning workout for the lower body when you hike, particularly if you choose trails with hills and elevations. Your legs will become stronger over time, particularly if you carry a backpack. Of course, you’ll want to wear hiking shoes with good support to avoid injury. It’s best to start with short hikes on flat terrain before progressing to hills.

    Cardiovascular Benefits

    The movements associated with hiking help to dilate the arteries which reduces the blood pressure and takes some of the stress off of the heart. Hiking also helps to increase levels of HDL, the “good cholesterol” with its heart protective properties. If you hike at a rapid pace, you’ll also get an aerobic workout that will help to tone the heart.

    Mental Clarity

    There’s something therapeutic about being outdoors in the presence of nature. Whether you hike alone or with an exercise buddy, you’ll feel your worries melt away as you absorb the sunshine and breathe the fresh air. If it’s a sunny day, you’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.

    A Break from the Gym

    Walking on a treadmill or elliptical machine can get tedious. Hiking provides a much needed break from the monotony of the gym and can help reestablish your motivation to exercise. Alternating hiking with gym workouts is a great way to keep your fitness routine fresh.

    The great thing about hiking is you choose a different path each day to keep your workout fresh and interesting. Why not discover the amazing benefits that hiking has to offer? There are many hiking trails all over the state and some in our own backyards that we might now even know about.
    Some of my favorites are right here in Morris County only a short drive away.