Take a hike! I mean it, you deserve it! I can’t take it anymore, seeing you inside all the time. You feel down? Are you stressed? Do you want to lose weight? Then do it!
Literally, take a hike.
Last year, 23 lbs. heavier, I went on my first hike in the Washington State. My husband, two friends and I went to Rattlesnake Ledge Trail It was beautiful! I was so excited to finally go for a hike in the Pacific Northwest, but it was extremely difficult for me.
You see, out of the 4 of us, I was the only one who was at least 50 lbs. overweight, the rest were all in great shape. So, I struggled through the entire hike.
But in the end, I did it! We were out there for two hours. According to my Fitbit, I burned almost 2200 calories as I hiked up and down this beautiful trail trying to catch up with our two friends.
On the other hand, though in shape, my husband was behind all of us. Not because he couldn’t handle the difficulty of the hike, but because he was out there to enjoy the scene. He didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to absorb the beauty around us.
I share this story to let you know that there are hikes for everybody, regardless of your fitness level.
Did I feel accomplished by pushing myself the way I did? Of course!
Was it necessary? No.
You are the only one who can determine the level of difficulty you can handle on a hike. Be honest with yourself. But don’t think it’s impossible for you to do.
HELPFUL TOOL TO FIND HIKING SPOTS
There are apps that help you choose hiking trails based on the level of difficulty. You don’t have to go hiking blindly, hoping that you can handle a trail. Choose in the comfort of your home. Then you’ll know what equipment you’ll need.
The app my husband and I use is All Trails. It provides trail options based on your location. You can also see the level of difficulty of each trail, making it easier to decide where you would go.
You are also able to post reviews and updates regarding the conditions of the hiking trail. This part can save you time if the trail is closed or under unsafe conditions.
While this post is about 5 Reasons to, Literally, Take a Hike, it’s important that you find the right trail for YOU to experience the benefits.
But with no further delay, here are my thoughts on why you should take a hike…
5 REASONS YOU SHOULD TAKE A HIKE
1. YOU’RE IN TOUCH WITH NATURE
Did you know that about 80% of Americans live in urban areas? That leaves us constantly exposed to toxins in the environment, like car fumes and chemicals.
Go hiking and breathe fresh air, feel the breeze, smell the leaves and the earth. When I mentioned earlier that my husband was stopping to enjoy the hike, he had it right. He still got a great workout. Ultimately, why take a hike if you’re not going to enjoy the scenery?
Think about it, many of us spend most days inside, in the office, at home. Depending on the geographic location and time of year, some days can pass by without seeing daylight. This contributes to the high number of people who are Vitamin D deficient in the United States. That number can be as high as 90% of the population.
Exposure to sunlight increases your ability to naturally create Vitamin D3. And the benefits of this vitamin include cancer and diabetes prevention, enhanced immune system, heart health, improved bone density, decreased in anxiety and depression, and improved memory and concentration.
2. RELAXATION AND MEDITATION
Relaxation and meditation are essential to health and fitness. Do you spend the entire week in the hustle of life, surrounded by stressors? Are you always connected to your phone, tablet, or computer?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that you’re connected right now and reading this post. But this is about YOU. And nothing beats going out on a beautiful (or not so beautiful) day to take a hike.
Take time to relax… meditate.
When you take a hike, even if the purpose is for an intense workout, take a few minutes to relax. Eat a snack, meditate for a while. Nature is the perfect place to take a moment for yourself.
3. WEIGHT LOSS
Hiking is great for weight loss. You burn more calories walking on rugged and elevated terrain than you do by walking on a flat surface. More calories burned, means more melting away fat, assuming you have a healthy diet of course.
What I like the most about hiking for weight loss is that it doesn’t have to feel like you’re out there to workout. You get an amazing workout while you’re taking pictures and enjoying the environment. This is the sort of workout you can also do with your entire family, or with friends if you want to.
Have a little one? Put them in a carrier and bring them along. The added weight increases calories burned. If your child is too old for a carrier, take a stroller with you. In her post, 5 Easy Steps to Enjoy Hiking With Kids, Ali Marie shows you how to make the hiking experience fun and enjoyable with the little ones, regardless of age.
4. CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
There’s no denying the fact that hiking can elevate your heart rate. It’s excellent cardiovascular exercise, which helps improve or maintain your heart health.
If you want to increase the cardio factor, carry a backpack with supplies (which I highly recommend). Water is a great way to make your backpack heavier. You definitely need to hydrate throughout your hike, and it also gets lighter as you expend more energy and drink more water.
Choose more challenging trails, with greater inclines. The cardio workout becomes greater and as an added perk, you might sleep like a baby at night.
5. SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND MOTIVATION
Aside from all the other benefits of hiking, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you complete a challenging hike. That feeling releases endorphins, which makes you feel happier, which gives you motivation.
You think what I’m saying is a stretch? Notice that I opened this post about hiking with my most challenging hiking experience. And that didn’t discourage me from getting out there again. It did the opposite. I wanted to go hiking again after that.
The exposure to sunlight and nature, the cardio workout, and the ability to relax and get away from life’s hustle all contribute to a happier, healthier, more motivated YOU.
SO PLEASE, GO TAKE A HIKE!
Don’t just take my word for it, give it a try. You will not regret it and you will most likely want to go back out once you go hiking. And always be safe to get the best out of the experience.
Things to keep in mind…
- Be safe, bring a buddy and check out the trail before you go out.
- Carry healthy snacks and water with you, hydration is important!
- Do this for yourself, you deserve it.
- Take a moment to take it all in when you get out there.
- Mediate or relax if you have the opportunity.
- Get a great workout.
- When you’re done, pat yourself on the back, because you just completed an activity that improves your mind, heart, and body.
But by all means, go ahead… TAKE A HIKE! 😉
Comment below and let me know about your most challenging and/or your favorite hiking experience.