Happy National Take a Hike Day!

On November 17, wear your most comfortable hiking shoes and take a hike because it is Take A Hike Day.

man lacing up hiking bootsTake a Hike Day was established to encourage groups of families and friends to get out into the wild and really get a taste of what it means to be away from it all again.

Hiking is something that really helps to rebuild our connection with nature, and helps to maintain healthy hearts and bodies, as well.

Hiking should not be an affair that one rushes through, nor should one idle their way through the journey, instead one should listen to their heart and body, and when restlessness strikes head out for the distant hills, and when weariness sets in let the body rest and take in the environment. This day reminds us that we are creatures of the wild, as well as creatures of civilization, and sometimes it does our heart good to be taken home and get out in the wild.

Hiking is great for the heart. Hiking is unique because it’s a low-impact sport that offers cardiovascular benefits on par with other aerobic activities. That’s because climbing up a hill intensifies your heart rate, even if you’re moving at walking speed. Studies show that hiking on a regular basis can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Hiking alleviates stress. Hiking naturally lifts your mood while combating stress and anxiety. A study by a British mental health charity revealed that hiking in the scenic countryside reduced symptoms of depression, while walking within a mall increased them. Hiking also offers the chance to disconnect from technology.
Hiking is good for your muscles and bones. Hiking can boost bone density, it’s been shown to reverse the effects of osteoporosis and slow the rate of calcium loss from bones. Trails are often softer than asphalt, which is good news for your joints.

Hiking is a social activity. Unlike swimming laps or cycling in a single file, hiking is an inherently social, non-competitive activity. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you always hike with at least one person in case of an emergency or injury.

Hiking boosts weight loss. You’ll get a much better workout hiking on a trail than on walking a treadmill. A 5–10% incline equals a 30–40% increase in calories burned. A 150lb person hiking and climbing hills for 60 minutes can burn more than 535 calories!

Here are some hiking tips:

  • Start slow. Stick to shorter, flatter hikes if you’re new to hiking, and be sure to get your doctor’s clearance before beginning any exercise regimen.
  • Always go with a buddy.
  • Pack plenty of water and a snack.
  • Hike during daylight hours and don’t forget a map.
  • Be sure to wear the right hiking gear, including sturdy boots and weatherproof clothing.

Sources: Atkins.ca and DaysoftheYear.com