With each stride and energetic step, hiking not only is a tremendous exercise for the body, but also the mind. The focus on nature allows you to tune into yourself as well as your surroundings. The fresh air during hiking provides a vital stimulus for your workout encompassing body, mind and soul.
The good thing about choosing hiking over other forms of exercise is that almost anyone can do it. There are typically a variety of different trails for beginners to establish not only their footing, but also their route. As you progress, you can usually trek on up to a more difficult path, climb a steeper hill or natural steps made of large rocks. Pay attention to each step and focus on how you need to use your whole body to propel you uphill, balance you on your way down and keep you from falling when you’re walking on a unstable surface. When I hike, I try to go on different terrain, that way I can feel different parts of my body engaged.
Each hike can be different with a different path, new terrain, trees, birds, dogs and people along the trail. You’ll increase your body’s ability to burn fat as you get your heart rate up and raise your metabolic rate. You will also increase your stamina and cardiovascular endurance.
You will also get the benefits of building muscular endurance while hiking. This is especially important for women as they work to prevent osteoporosis and increase bone density. The natural earth is also better for the joints than walking along concrete or asphalt.
You can pretty much hike all year round depending on where you live and your tolerance for the heat or cold. Hiking provides the added benefit of natural light or sunlight to help boost your mood and while it's important to wear sunscreen, you’ll also increase your body’s stores of Vitamin D.
Hiking is something that can be done alone or with a friend or perhaps even a hiking group. It is a wonderful way to not only meet others, but also get to know yourself a little better while doing something both rewarding and productive.