New Year Resolution - Hiking For Fitness

Consider Backpack Hiking

If you've never considered backpack hiking, now is a great time to start. Losing weight and getting healthier is the number one New Year resolution of all times. It's also the number one resolution that either fails or never gets started. We all have good intentions, but the mere thought of eating lettuce, constant working out at the gym and failing to lose any significant weight makes us give up. There are no magic pills or fad diets that will keep us as healthy as hiking and light cardio exercise.  But when you do it in a beautiful nature setting, such as outdoor trail hiking, the mind does not feel like it's pushed to endure something otherwise thought of as negative, aka gyms and starvation diets.

Outdoor Trekking Is Not Just About Weight Loss

Even if your weight is stable, staying fit becomes more of a challenge every year after age 30. Doctors recommend walking as the best exercise for people of all shapes and ages. It's pretty powerful how much our thoughts control our behavior and mood. If you strive to put a positive spin on your fitness goals, you will not fail. Walking denoted freedom and does not feel like torture. Exploring beauty in nature is peaceful, not misery. Discovery of what your body is capable of is empowering, not suffering. For example, when we go on vacation, we may walk for miles as a tourist. We enjoy seeing the sights and the revelation of the new surroundings. All of our senses are keen to the visual, sounds and smells of what we are looking at. It's a very pleasant experience.

Start With Day Pack Hiking

What if we were able to get that level of positive outcome and more from outdoor hiking?  Wouldn't you agree that it would be more stimulating to the mind and more beneficial to the body, all while having a good time? If your mind is open to try daypack hiking, enjoy some fresh air and simply walk, it could open up a whole new world of enjoyment for you without seeming like tedious exercise. Your attitudes of feeling agonized and your perception of a "workout" will no longer be a dreaded task, but instead, you'll find yourself anxious to get out there and trek the trail again. Practically every town has hiking trails. Check your local area listings. If the new adventurous you wants to forge your own path, I say go for it!

UGH! I Get Hungrier When I Exercise

You may feel that any kind of exercise just makes you hungrier, or as I say, Hangry!  Thirst can give your brain a signal that feels like hunger. During hiking, if you keep yourself hydrated and take time to rest if you feel tired or challenged, you can reenergize with a light snack which will help keep your metabolism boosted. The benefits of that is more productive calorie burning.  If you start a fitness "diet", people tend to think if they just eat vegetables only, they'll lose weight. Maybe so, but if you do not incorporate proteins and some good carbs in your eating, you will lose muscle tone. To do your best when backpack hiking, you will want to develop muscle tone, not lose it. How many times have you gone to the gym, ate practically nothing, then came home and were ravenous so you grabbed the first type of comfort food you could get your hands on, or worse yet, stopped for fast food on the way home. A good rule is to never let yourself get TOO hungry, tired or defeated. Make sure your hiking pack has plenty of water and snacks to fuel your body such as granola bars, protein bars, nuts and dried fruits. Ready-made tuna in pouches is available in any grocery store. Stay away from empty calories like soda, candy and heavy mayo on processed deli meat.

It's Your Resolution

The point of this conversation is to understand that trail hiking is not a difficult laborious exercise in disguise. It can be as light or strenuous as you choose. The benefits come from being in the great outdoors, getting Vitamin D from the sun, encouraging your heart and lungs to work better and having overall better health while doing something awesome. If you start out slow on a flat hiking trail for just an hour or two the first few times out, you can build up gradually to longer hikes and more challenging terrain, which ultimately burns more calories. Try backpack hiking and make the resolution to not give up on you.  Happy hiking!


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