A day hiking backpack trip can technically be labeled as exercise. But when you experience the joy of nature while hiking, you'll wonder why you didn't try it sooner. If you are not a gym lover, or even if you are, day hiking will give you numerous benefits that a sweaty crowded building can’t provide. Do you hate to exercise but love being outdoors? Here is how to accomplish both with loads of fun added to the mix.
If you've been a little lax in staying fit and keeping active, hiking can be the solution. Your body will build stronger muscles and bones and you will lower your risk of heart disease. Isn't that reason enough to take up hiking? If not, consider the improvements a day hike offers to your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Hiking gives your muscles a workout, which moves glucose from your bloodstream for energy, which will help prevent or control diabetes. If you can walk, you can hike. All during your trek, you'll be decreasing your risk of lung and respiratory ailments and cardiac disease.
What exactly is bone density and why is it important? After age 30, you may begin to lose muscle and bone strength, especially if you have a diet low in calcium, you become less active, or if you smoke. Weakened bones will put you at risk of fractures, which is never pleasant. Weight bearing exercise such as backpack hiking helps build bone strength. Exercises that help build strong bones are dancing, stair climbing, tennis and jogging. I can hear you groaning as you read this...haha.
A day hiking backpack trip of 4-6 hours, in sunshine and fresh air, could be stair climbing of sorts. No dancing is required during a hike, but you will benefit your body by walking slight inclines on a hiking trail. Toss in blue skies and no pressure as you enjoy your time in nature. Are you getting my point? You can dance up the trail if you want to without feeling self conscious of your dance moves. I suspect you'll be more inclined to enjoy the trek to a beautiful view while exercising your mind and body in a more natural way.
Your lungs will use air more efficiently , making it easier for you to breathe when you have a more active lifestyle. Getting off the couch onto the hiking trail is a better way to incorporate movement of your body that doesn't have to consist of boring gym reps or treadmills. Be aware that being at higher elevations, such as mountains, makes your lungs work harder. Don't tackle any more than a good sized hill when you are first acclimating your body to hiking.
Day hiking backpack treks can burn an impressive amount of calories. On average, a 160 lb. individual burns around 440 calories and hour while hiking. A 200 lb. person will burn approximately 550 calories per hour. An accurate gauge of calories burned per mile of hiking is around 100 calories per mile for a 180 lb. person. These numbers can be altered higher when you climb a bit and carry a hiking bag or if you are walking in snow or beach sand, which requires more effort. Fitness is not just about calorie consumption. Active people have a better chance of burning their food calories.
Hiking trails are often softer on joints than asphalt or concrete, making it gentler on your ankles and knees. Hike paths are made of different terrains, some are paved, dirt or crushed stone. You can chart your own course, hike as slow or fast as your fitness level allows, all while receiving the benefits of being outdoors. Your trip can be an 8 hour day or a 4 hour afternoon. The object is to move your body, get healthy and have a great time doing it, rather than it be a dreaded chore.
Day hiking backpack excursions are every bit as beneficial to your body as a routine gym workout, and three times more enjoyable. Hiking tones your entire body, especially your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Carrying your backpack with essential food and water, for example, will add to body endurance and strength training. It all sounds more strenuous than it has to be. You will be the one to control your level of activity, not a trainer.
Most towns have hiking trails. If your busy schedule can't seem to fit in a whole day hike, why not have your workout while watching the sun rise and still make it to work by 8am? You can burn some serious calories in a couple of hours on the hike trail. Research where the trails are in your area for the mini hikes and the day trips. You'll be energized and ready to face the day after a short jaunt through a beautiful forest or meadow.
The buddy system is a great way to socialize while hiking. Couples, best friends and family members can join in the fun and fitness escape. You can join a hiking group and make new friends while learning all about the terrain and tips of backpack hiking.
The folks at Nature Trail Backpacks will respond to any question or comment below. Do yourself a favor and eliminate the health hazard of stress in your life by enjoying a nature hike. Studies have proven that hiking benefits will reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Check out some of my other articles on this subject to see how you can eliminate stress. Happy hiking!