I only put this at the top of the list because this is what I struggle with myself… Just ask my husband! I love to hike but while hiking, my attitude can sometimes be everything but positive. Sometimes as fitness enthusiasts, we lose sight of or take advantage of our mind/body experience – we’re always looking for ways to be on the go. While trying to reduce stress and take time to ourselves (i.e. taking a hike), it can be very frustrating and even sometimes boring because we feel we have other things that we should be doing during that time. It’s important to try to set these ideas aside and invest in our mind/body connection. When we invest in our mind/body connection, we increase our productivity throughout the times we are not on the mountain, which leads me to one of the advantages of hiking…
Most individuals go hiking to experience the health benefits, as well as to decrease stress while engaging in the beauty of the scenery. Some even use their hikes as a way to increase their spiritual well-being. An increase in adrenaline and endorphins create these decreased levels of stress while your heart rate climbs to decrease your risk for heart disease. Along with a decrease for heart disease, you are also putting a demand on your body, which decreases blood pressure while increasing muscle strength.
3. Physical advantages
What muscles are being strengthened when hiking? The hamstrings, calves, glutes, hips and abdominals are all engaged when you are climbing up that mountain. If you’re carrying your gear, shoulders are also included in that group of muscles as you continue to climb. Making sure you are properly hydrated so that these muscles don’t cramp is very important for your hiking experience to be positive.
When hiking, it is important to control and regulate your body temperature. We can do this by staying hydrated! The most important time to hydrate yourself is 24 hours before your climb so that you have enough in storage for your body to utilize. When hiking sometimes the best and easiest way to hydrate is through a Camelbak. Be sure to find the right fit as it is very important to be comfortable; ACE also offers a few tips for your hydration preparation.
Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before the start of exercise. Drink 8 ounces of fluid 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise or during warm-up. Drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise. Drink an additional 8 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after exercising. Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
Now that you are set, there is one last step to your success. You need to take be sure to pay special attention to your safety. It is always important to alert someone when you are going on your hikes, especially if you are alone. It is preferred that you go in groups to enjoy each other’s company, but alone time can be important as well. It is very important that you take a first aid kit in case any issues should occur; I recommend the REI Hiker Kit.
Finally, remember what you read above: that you must always be aware of your water and energy control. This will lead to happy, healthy hiking! My husband and I live in the beautiful place of Flagstaff, Arizona where we find many excellent hiking trails. Check out your local trails to see what new adventures you can take this summer!
-AkaylahBack to all posts