We all know how important it is to stay active and fit, but for some of us, the thought of heading to the gym to do so isn’t all that appealing. This is especially true for those who work in an office or at home—the last thing we want to do in our free time is to be inside. So, keep reading to learn How to Turn Your Hike into an Outdoor Workout.
Fortunately, hiking provides a nice alternative to the gym, and with summer right around the corner, it might be time to do it more often. Hiking is, by itself, great exercise, but a few minor additions to your hike can transform into a full-on outdoor workout.
The extent of the workout you get from hiking depends on where you hike. If your route has lots of steep inclines and declines, you are in for a great full-body exercise. Flatter routes, though, make it more of a challenge to get in a dynamic workout (a likely scenario if you’re hiking in Ohio).
To change this, one thing you can do is use weights. You could attach ankle weights, which, among their many benefits, help build endurance and tone muscles, or you could carry small hand weights. Even just three pounds will go a long way towards increasing muscle tone and endurance. If you’re new to walking with weights, start small and gradually build up so as to avoid injury.
Hiking and technology have a tenuous relationship. Diehards want tech as far away from hiking as possible, whereas others see it as a great tool to enhance the activity. The numerous hiking apps available, though, show how properly applied technology can be a great addition to your hike.
One app, MapMyHike, is great because it not only tracks hiking statistics such as distance traveled, speed and time, but it also links to fitness apps to measure your heart rate, count steps and much more.
You can use this information to track your hikes and set goals for future ones. For example, aiming to reduce your times will push you to go faster, enhancing your cardio workout. The one downside of these apps, though, is that they use GPS tracking and often require personal information to give accurate readings. Make sure you protect yourself so that you don’t end up regretting entering all this data into your phone.
Mix in Exercise
Make your hikes more dynamic by adding some basic exercises either when you’re on the trail or when you take a break. Some examples are:
- Standing push-ups off trees
- Sit ups
- Hopping and skipping (great leg workout)
- Lunges (great way to make flat stretches more challenging)
Simply going for a hike is already a great step towards being more active, but a few small additions to this activity can turn it from a healthy leisure activity to a fun and dynamic workout. Make sure to stretch before you head out, rest often and drink plenty of water. But beyond that, the world is your gym—go out and enjoy it!
About the Author: Caroline is a health and tech blogger through the week and an avid hiker on weekends. Being in the outdoors allows her to enjoy nature and also to stay active, something her job doesn’t give her. She will often skip the gym for a hike, and she doesn’t mind if people look at her funny as she skips along the trail.
So, get outside and turn your hike into an outdoor workout. Leave a commit below and let us know what creative ways you workout while hiking.