Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Workout Wednesday: Hiking for Health

One of my favorite forms of exercise is hiking, and I try to do it a couple of times a week.  Hiking provides many  healthful benefits like cardiovascular exercise, fresh air, stress reduction, and a connection with Nature.  Even if you live in the city, hiking trails surround most of the cities in the world, usually around lakes or in preserved parks and beaches.  If you're not familiar with trails in your area, simply search the internet for hiking trails plus your city or area.

As long as you are doing a short hike (two hours or less), hiking remains one of the least expensive outdoor activities available to us.  All you need is a good, comfortable pair of hiking shoes, a bottle of water and clothes for the weather and climate.  If it's a sunny day and you have sensitive skin, you should either cover up as much as possible or find a good natural sunscreen.  If you are unfamiliar with the plants in your area, you might want to wear long pants and sleeves.  There's nothing worse than an unwanted encounter with poison oak or ivy.  Getting to know the plants in your area can be fun and  fruitful.

Because hiking is an aerobic exercise, you should pick a trail that matches your current level of fitness.  Ascending 1000 feet on your first hike might prove very difficult and discouraging.  Most hiking books and internet sites will tell you if a trail is easy, moderate or challenging.  Start with an easy trail and work your way up to the more challenging trails.

When hiking, I try to always focus on my breathing and let my senses take in the beauty of Mother Nature around me.  After a stressful work day, spending time outside melts away the days tensions and worries.  The fresh air cheers me up and enhances my state of well-being.  I also try to avoid trails that are close to streets or heavy traffic.  When I make it to the top of a trail, I spend some time consciously breathing and enjoying the view.

So, if you've never really given hiking a chance, commit to once or twice a week.  You might find that it's an enjoyable form of exercise that gives you a workout and clears your mind of stress and anxiety.  There's probably more trails around you than you are aware of , offering variety and beauty.  Be good to yourself.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

No comments:

Post a Comment