THE HEALTHY HIKER
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Hiking outdoors has plenty of perks: nice views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature.
It's good for you, too. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
Lower your risk of heart disease
Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
Strengthen your core
Help control your weight
Head for the hills. Even a small hill will intensify your heart rate and burn extra calories. Miller says a 5% to 10% incline equals a 30% to 40% increase in calorie burn.
Bump it up. Uneven terrain can work muscles while improving balance and stability.
Weigh yourself down. Stock your day pack with extra weight. (Water’s a good option.) According to Miller, a 10- to 15-pound day pack will boost your calorie burn by 10% to 15% while strengthening your lower back muscles.
Get into a groove. On the days you can’t make it to the trails, power-walk on a hilly terrain while carrying various degrees of weight in a backpack -- it will keep your hiking skills and fitness level on track.