They say hiking is beneficial for the body, mind and soul. And I say it’s addictive! Hiking on beautiful, scenic trails is a great way to challenge yourself physically while enjoying the simple, yet breathtaking ways of Mother Nature. All hiking experiences are worthwhile; whether it’s the childhood trail just a couple miles from home, or a new endeavor to the glorious Blue Range Mountains. If you live in the busy city, escape the noises and stress for the sounds of birds chirping and creeks flowing. It’s never too late to grab those sneakers and head out the door.
As hikers and health advocates, we want to share with you the sweet benefits to waking up on Sunday morning (or any day really) and moving! Your muscles, organs and conscious will thank you. Turning this into a healthy habit can turn into a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking helps with:
1. Weight loss — Physical outdoor exercise is always encouraged, even by simply walking as a mode of transportation. Beginners can start out at a slower walking pace, and hike at a comfortable 2-MPH, burning about 250 calories an hour. Depending on speed, how much you’re carrying and incline, weight loss can increase.
2. Prevention of Heart Disease — Individuals who do not exercise daily are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease. Hiking can also decrease levels of bad cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein, a good cholesterol.
3. Reduces depression — Taking a trip outside will help clear your mind. Hiking releases adrenaline, and studies show decrease in tension, anxiety, and blood pressure levels. After a moderate or intense hike, relaxing is easier and the mind is more at ease. This reduces depression, and when your feeling better physically and mentally you will feel more thankful for nature as well as good health.
I was inspired by a list from National Geographic of top hiking trail picks, and wanted to share a few of theirs, as well as a few others we enjoy:
Breakneck Ridge Trail– Hudson Highlands, New York
Wissahickon Gorge – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (picture)
Bear Mountain – Tomkins Cove, New York
Cheesequake State Park (Green Trail) – Matawan, New Jersey
Bald Mountain in Adirondack Mountains- Old Forge , New York (picture)
Indiana Dunes State Park – Chesterton, Illinois
Middlesex Fells Reservation – Medford, Massachusetts (picture)
Sandstone Peak in Santa Monica Mountains – Ventura County, California
Ice Age National Scenic Trail – Auburndale, Wisconsin
Great Falls Park – McLean, Virginia (picture)
Share with us some of your favorite hiking trails and tips!