Sick of Being in the Gym? Take a Hike!

With fall quickly approaching it’ll be a great time to pack up and enjoy this beautiful time of year.

My brother and I hiked Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire last week. If you are ever in that area I highly recommend giving it a shot! The entire trip was 11.6 miles and over 5,000 feet, which we completed in 6 hours. For someone who is a regular exerciser, I was very surprised to see how sore I was for a few days after this hike. I started thinking…why don’t I hike more often? Not only is it a great workout, but the scenery makes it much more enjoyable compared to being indoors at a gym.

Hiking is such an enjoyable activity for people who prefer exercising outdoors. When you’re hiking you can burn a ton of calories without being in a gym. It’s a great way to increase your heart rate and get your muscles moving.  Other benefits include improved cardio-respiratory fitness, improved muscular fitness, lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, weight loss, slower loss of bone density, reduced depression and better quality sleep.

Before you head out for a long hike remember a few tips…

  1. Start small if you’re not a regular hiker, try the shorter trails first and work your way up to those longer trails.
  2. Pack the essential equipment. Water (Camelbak Backpacks work extremely well), supportive footwear (ankle support is highly recommended for those uneven surfaces), healthy snacks, proper clothing (be sure to check the weather ahead of time), ski poles (if necessary depending on the altitude of the height), first aid kit, etc.
  3. Be safe! Don’t get too close to the edges/cliffs. Take breaks as needed to catch your breath.
  4. Pace yourself. Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to rush, you definitely don’t want to get injured up there.
  5. Try some dynamic stretches prior to the hike (walking lunges with a torso twist, quad walks, knee hugs, arm circles, etc.) Get those muscles moving before you head out to avoid injury.
  6. Hydrate the day before and during the hike!
  7. Research the trail you choose. Read reviews of other hikers to see which way you should go. We found that extremely helpful.

There are many hilly or mountainous locations throughout the country, try mixing it up and trying a new trail each time for a new surrounding. This will keep your workouts fresh and exciting!

Check out the links below for some great hiking trails across the U.S.!

New England Hiking Trails

Midwest Hiking Trails

West Coast Hiking Trails

11 Hikes You Shouldn’t Miss Across the U.S.

Image- Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire20170822_103344