The idea of taking a walk in the countryside for pleasure developed in the 18th-century, and arose because of changing attitudes to the landscape and nature, associated with the Romantic movement. In earlier times walking generally indicated poverty and was also associated with vagrancy.
Aim to finish the day walking the same speed at which you started. Think rhythm and flow. Tortoise rather than hare.
2. Pack Adjustments
Regularly make small adjustments to your pack’s harness, hip belt, shoulder and stabilizer straps. Alternate the weight of the load between your shoulders and hips. By fine-tuning your load in such a fashion, you can help to minimize the build up of tightness/stress in any one area.
3. Mix It Up
The same principle of making adjustments to your pack equally applies to your gait. Shorter strides, longer strides, up on your toes, back on your heels. Whatever it takes to minimize muscle tension in particular areas. Think about it – if you are using the same muscles in exactly the same way hour after hour, day after day there are bound to be repercussions. If you are sitting at a computer for long stretches, do your eyes and hands not feel the strain?
Help keep your muscles supple by doing some light stretching during breaks. In addition, try to do 10-15 minutes at the end of each hiking day. Think of it as an investment in your on-trail health.
Try keeping them short and regular rather than long and occasional. This allows less time for the muscles to stiffen up, thus making it easier to get going again. This especially holds true for those chronologically challenged amongst us. If you are taking a longer break, particularly on a cold and windy day, consider putting on some warmer clothes so as not to catch a chill.
While climbing and hill walking are sometimes perceived in the media as largely male activities, the number of women participating is growing. The BMC has around 20,000 female members and they make up over 25% of the BMC’s membership. A 2006 BMC survey suggested the proportion of women increased from 16% to 25% from 2002 to 2006. Sport England’s current APS says 36% of those participating are women.
You know hiking is good for your health. But do you know just how good it is? If you are heading out for a hike this Memorial Day weekend, take note of all the good you are doing for your body.
For adults, regular aerobic exercise such as hiking leads to:
Kids get many of the same benefits, including:
How Much Time?
How much activity do you need to reap these incredible health benefits? Experts say getting active for just 150 minutes a week – doing “moderate-intensity” aerobic exercise such as moderate hiking or brisk walking – leads to most of these benefits (reducing risks of colon and breast cancer requires another hour a week). That’s only 2½ hours a week. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Sneaking in a lunchtime hike up the hill near your office counts toward your total, as long as you’re active for at least ten minutes.
If you take part in more vigorous aerobic activities, such as running, dancing, or hiking uphill or with a heavy pack, you need only half that amount of time, or 75 minutes a week, to get health benefits.
What’s moderate exercise? You can talk, but you can’t sing during the activity. Vigorous? You can’t say more than a few words with pausing for breath. “When you are doing moderate exercise, you can continue for a long time, and you are breathing rhythmically,” explains Malpica. “With vigorous exercise, you can’t do it for more than a few minutes at a time.”
And if you rack up even more time, the benefits keep growing too. For even more substantial health benefits, such as an even lower risk of heart disease, aim for 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week.
Of course, there are other kinds of physical activity. It’s also important to do some muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or doing push-ups. The experts say do those at least twice a week. You also need to get in some bone-strengthening activity, which occurs when force on your bones promotes bone growth and strength. Here again, hiking fits the bill.
Another plus: you don’t have to be in perfect shape to start. Even if you are overweight, getting physical can lead to health benefits. But don’t run out and climb a 14er if you’ve long been inactive. The experts say if you’re 35 or older and have been inactive for several years, or you already have a condition such as high blood pressure, check with your doctor first. “Hiking is a great way to start exercising,” says Malpica. “Start with easy hikes and work up to steeper hikes that work your legs more.”
Kids (age 6-17) need 60 minutes of physical activity each day, mostly aerobic. They also need regular muscle-strengthening (playing on playground equipment, climbing trees) and bone-strengthening (running, playing basketball, jumping rope) exercise.