Accessibility View Close toolbar

Hiking Your Way to Health

  • Blog >
  • Hiking Your Way to Health
RSS Feed

Hiking Your Way to Health

As autumn’s outdoor temperatures begin to moderate, many of us look forward to opportunities for vigorous  #cardiorespiratory   activities that we put aside in the heat of the summer. It's much easier to hike in the spring and fall, even in the peak afternoon hours, because the sun’s intensity is less harsh.  
Hiking is tremendous fun and is a wonderful form of vigorous  #exercise   for the entire family, including the youngest through the oldest.1 Hiking combines both cardiorespiratory and strength training activities, which train not only your heart and lungs but also the large  #muscle   groups of your legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius/soleus muscles of your calves. However, hiking is not like other forms of exercise. As you cannot really do a hike gradually, it's important to have acquired a good level of  #fitness   before you begin to hike. Also, hikers need to be prepared and take along specific supplies. When you hike, it's best to expect the unexpected, and certain basic supplies are critically necessary.


In terms of fitness preparation, beginning hikers should be able to walk four miles at a brisk pace.2 This will allow you to hike a two-mile trail at a modest incline, covering a total of four miles out and back. Doing such a hike a few times will then provide the preparation needed for increasing your hiking distance. Hiking preparation also includes  #strengthtraining   In a comprehensive strength training program, you train all major muscle groups once a week. This is done by performing "split routines" such as training chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs on separate days. Your comprehensive strength training program works synergistically with your cardiorespiratory exercise. Doing one form of exercise benefits the other activity and the result is substantial improvement in your fitness levels. The overall result is that you are appropriately prepared to hike.
Regarding supplies, every hiker needs a backpack. Your backpack will contain a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a two-liter water bottle, some trail mix and  #protein   bars, a GPS-capable phone, a map and compass (as low-tech backups to your phone's GPS), and a lightweight rain slicker or waterproof poncho. Each of these items is necessary for a safe and enjoyable hike. You don't want to run out of water or snacks. You don't want to get sunburnt or rained on. And you certainly don't want to get lost. By Murphy's Law, the supply that you neglect or forget to bring, is the one you will need on that hike. The best policy is to always be prepared.
With appropriate preparation, hiking will provide you and your family years of enjoyment of the natural world and will enhance your health and well-being for years to come.
Sources:
Gutwenger I, et al: Pilot study on the effects of a 2-week hiking vacation at moderate versus low altitude on plasma parameters of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. BMC Res Notes. 2015 Mar 28;8:103. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-1066-3
Walker JR, et al: U.S. Cohort Differences in Body Composition Outcomes of a 6-Month Pedometer-Based Physical Activity Intervention: The ASUKI Step Study. Asian J Sports Med 2014 Dec;5(4):e25748. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.25748. Epub 2014 Dec 1
Hartescu I, et al: Increased physical activity improves sleep and mood outcomes in inactive people with insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sleep Res 24(5):526-34, 2015

Appointment Request

Fill out the appointment request form and our staff will be in touch shortly!

Office Hours

Aurora Location Office Hours

Monday:

8:00am to 12:00pm

3:00pm to 7:00pm

Tuesday:

Closed

Wednesday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-7:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Saturday:

Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Brookfield Location Office Hours

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

3:00 pm-7:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed



Our Location

Visit Our Clinics

Sign Up For Our Newsletter