Summer Fitness – Hiking and Walking
One of the most enjoyable ways to get fit this summer is by hiking and walking. There are ways to make your walk or hike more beneficial and successful. Here are some of the benefits of walking and hiking, and some tips for success.
Walking and hiking has all kinds of healthful benefits. Here are some of them.
* Cardiovascular health – Experts say that brisk walking is one of the best forms of exercise for the heart. The key is to keep up a vigorous pace the whole time you are walking (if you are just beginning, it’s a good idea to slow down to catch your breath if you feel really winded). If you keep up the pace, your heart gets a continual workout.
* Muscle toning and strength – Walking uses a lot of large muscle groups. If you like, carry weights or strap on wrist weights to help tone your arms. Also, adding weight is said to increase the amount of calories you burn while walking.
How can you make the most of your walk? What’s the best way to have a successful hike? Here are some tips.
* Bring water – It’s a good idea to bring water with you on the trail or along the road where you’re walking. You may not get thirsty, but it’s far better to have water and not need it than need it and not have it! You can simply slip water bottles into a small backpack, or use clip-on water bottles for your belt.
* The right shoes – You’re much more likely to have a good walk if you have the right shoes. For hiking, one of the best types of shoes is something that looks like a cross between sneakers and boots. For walking on level ground, walking shoes are less boot-like and more like sneakers. Having the right shoes means less stress on your joints and feet.
* Location – Choose a location that you enjoy walking in. If the whole family is in on the hike, try exploring a local park or forest. If you are just going for a walk in a neighborhood, go on a “house tour” and talk about which houses you like and why. It can help boost motivation when you are looking forward to the scenery. Another possibility is for your family to meet with friends on a local walking/running track. It can be a fun social time as well as fitness time.
* Challenge – As your family gets more in shape, challenge yourselves. Try a trail with steep hills or rocks to climb over. Try walking further in the neighborhoods or do another lap or two on the track.