Hiking for Fitness

Hiking is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, enjoy your environment and get in some excellent exercise. It’s an easy, inexpensive addition to your workout at the gym. Find a local Conservation Area, National/State Park, or just a trail in your neighborhood.

It is wise to be prepared for your hike. Be sure to check your physical condition and limitations with the condition of the trails. Consider factors such as weather, terrain and altitude before you go. Preparation for the trip is very important, the more tough the terrain is; the more training may be required ahead of time with your trainer. Work with your trainer and let them know your plans. They can maybe even suggest some exercises to help warm you up before your hike. Hiking involves a lot of up and down hill and other terrains, each of these can put different strains to your body. Start small then slowly build yourself up to something more challenging.

It is important to prepare for your hike so you don’t end up with sore, blistered, tired feet. To start, pick a trail that best suits your own fitness level. Don’t be afraid to start on more level terrain and a short hike. Any type of hike is a benefit to health. If you plan on hiking over hilly or difficult terrain, make sure you take the right gear with you. Maybe a walking stick, hiking boots, a backpack with snacks will all be required. Whichever distance and terrain you choice, it is important to warm up and stretch before heading out.

Eating right is very essential if you want your hike to be a success. Make sure you have a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and all the good stuff your body needs to keep it fit and healthy and to keep you going throughout your hike. Bring some yummy, healthy treats along with you.

Here are 3 great reasons to start hiking:

  1. Experience Nature: The only way to truly experience the outdoors is by walking. It puts you in a hands-on situation and allows you to absorb every nuance of natures’ beauty. You will get to enjoy the sounds, smell and feel of the seasons.
  2. Get Great Exercise: Hiking provides the steady exercise that doctors recommend for weight loss and heart issues. Walking or hiking, unlike jogging, will not jar your joints or cause undue stress on your legs and back.
  3. Hike to Relax: Hiking allows you to let go of your stresses. Take a deep breath and get away from it all for just a little while.

Plan your hiking route, get some friends and family together and go out and enjoy what nature has to offer all while getting a great workout.

For more articles go to http://lifesportfitness.lifestyleezine.com

Take A Hike

Many people spend hours and hours in the gym because they believe that this is best way to get into shape. To a certain extent it is, however, there are a number of reasons why you may want to incorporate hiking or walking into your exercise regime. Let’s take a little look at a few of these reasons.As you can probably guess, hiking and walking are cardiovascular exercises. This means that this exercise gets your heart pumping and your lungs working. As a result, it will have a much greater effect on reducing heart disease and the chance of heart attacks. You will not get this same sort of benefit by weight lifting alone.

Walking is also fantastic for relieving stress. If you choose to walk in a beautiful area, you won’t even know that you are exercising! Walking is well known for releasing some of the ‘feel good’ chemicals such as adrenaline and endorphins. These help to boost your happiness levels, and of course make you feel less stressed. When you’re feeling over worked and stressed out walking can help clear your head while at the same time incorporate exercise into your busy day.

It can also be a social activity. You can go out walking with your friends and use that time exercising to catch up and trade stories. Just like running clubs you can also find walking or hiking clubs in your area. Joining these clubs is a great way to meet new people and improve your health. When you combine exercise with social activities it keeps you motivated to carry on with your exercise program.

I know I have already mentioned some of the benefits that hiking can bring, but let’s take a little look at them in even greater depth:

  • Improved Cardiovascular System, for example, your blood will flow better, heart will work more efficiently and your lungs as well. In short, you will be much fitter.
  • Improved Muscles. Hiking is great for building up the muscles, and is a fantastic break from the gym. You won’t be putting your muscles under too much of a strain either.
  • Combats various problems with the body. For example, the chance of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
    <li.One of the best methods for weight loss. In just an hour you can burn 370 calories, not a lot compared to some activities, but it won't really feel like a 'workout' and is a great starting point for people who haven't exercised before.

  • Great for sleeping better. Studies have shown that those who regularly engage in hiking tend to sleep better at night.

In order to feel the benefits of hiking or walking you don’t really need to devote much time to it. All that is required is around 30 minutes a day for five days of the week. Surely you can manage that amount of time? Trust me, incorporating hiking into your exercise regime could perhaps be one of the best decisions that you have ever made.

For more articles go to http://lifesportfitness.lifestyleezine.com

Got Knee Pain While you Hike? Try Trekking Poles!

Rick Deutsch, "Mr HalfDome" uses trekking poles on his hikesToday I’ve got a real treat for you–a guest post by author and adventure travel afficionado, Rick Deutsch (also known as “Mr. Half Dome”).

Rick has hiked all the way up to the top of Yosemite’s Half Dome over 20 times. He’s been a featured destination speaker on hiking and walking for over 5 different cruise lines.

I’m a big advocate of active weekends, getting outdoors, and enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Bay Area. We know that walking hills is a great form of exercise. Below Rick tells us about how we can use trekking poles to improve our fitness and our upper body strength during an outdoor hike.


The Bay area has some of the most picturesque hiking trails in the world. The mountains surrounding the Santa Clara Valley offer many opportunities for hikers. Even if you are fit, your knees may cause you problems while hiking. Your treks downhill will test your meddle. There is not a whole lot you can do to strengthen the cartilage in your knees – yet your knees are critical to slowing you down.

Trekking poles can help with balance on hikes“Trekking poles” or “hiking poles” are ski pole-like aids worth your consideration. By using a pair of specialized poles instead of a single walking stick, you’ll feel a sense of increased stability, balance and support for your knees. If you hike without poles, you will notice that blood pools at the ends of your arms giving you “sausage fingers.” This does not occur when using poles because you are pumping blood actively with each step.

The advent of aluminum and composite materials such as carbon fiber allows manufacturers to bring lightweight poles with increased strength to the market. Most poles are less than 8-ounces each. A German company, LEKI, makes adjustable length hiking poles. This simple innovation allows you to use the poles at an optimum length for your height and for the terrain you are traversing. While the pole length is important, the wrist strap is key. By utilizing a wrist strap, your body weight is supported by the strap and not your wrist. This can prevent possible wrist pain after long hours of hiking.

Learning how to use poles optimally is easy, but often not intuitive. Optimal use enables you to achieve the many benefits. These benefits include improved balance, confidence, endurance, posture and upper body strength.

Downhill is where the poles earn their keep. Four “legs” will keep you from slipping, but most importantly the poles will absorb the downhill stoppingenergy. The tips of good poles are carbide steel and will grip into trails. You can also put rubber tips on them to reduce noise or protect sensitive surfaces.

Pole technique is important. The primary benefit during level walking is stability. When going uphill, the poles should be shortened to maintain the 90-degree angle. Keep them behind you and drag them lightly then push the tips into the ground to assist in propelling you forward. You will find that about 5% of the work is transferred from your lower body to your upper body muscles. You will feel a glow first in your triceps – that means they are doing the job. Walk with a reciprocal gait (opposite arm/leg swings) and you will get into a rhythm. I see many people bringing the poles in front of them and tapping them as they walk through them. There’s not much benefit to this technique.

Long hikes with a pack are much easier with poles as they help distribute some of the weight off your back. To go ultra-light, you can use your poles as tent supports and even a fishing rod. They are handy for hanging up wet clothing at the end of a hard day. Trekking poles are also very handy when fording streams. It’s easy to step on rocks while using the poles to securely grab the bottom as you walk across. You can cross a low flowing river while wearing river sandals and facing up stream with the poles in front to maintain balance as you move sideways. An added benefit to poles that is not publicized is that you have some level of protection in case of a run-in with dogs, snakes, spiders and other animals (or bad people). Available attachments include a device for turning your pole into a mono-pod for stable photo

If you are doing a hike that temporarily does not require the poles, they can be telescoped down and put into your backpack or attached with Velcro straps to your fanny pack. This is my method when ascending the Half Dome cables.

Trekking poles have become standard equipment for me whether hauling a pack on the Yosemite High Sierra Camps loop or on a local training hike. If you’re looking to increase your stability and improve your balance while hiking, it might be time to look into a pair of trekking poles!