Hiking is a great way to enjoy the wonders of nature while boosting your level of physical fitness. It’s a great sport for exercisers of all levels – beginners can start on gentler, flat terrain while experienced hikers can set out on steep trails up the mountain.

You don’t need to live in the country to find a place to hike; most towns have parks and nature preserves with plenty of trails to explore.

Getting Started

To go for a hike, all you need is a pair of sturdy sneakers or hiking boots and a park or nature preserve. Since you can hike in a variety of areas, your experience will depend on the environment and trail that you choose to explore. It’s a good idea to do some research on the hiking areas you want to try so you can pick a trail that meets your needs. Many hiking areas offer a variety of terrain, magnificent views, and spectacular sights of nature along the way. You should also find out the distance of the trail and approximate time to complete before you begin.

Hiking is a great group activity, although many people enjoy hiking on their own. If you do go solo, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return in case you get lost or injured. Whether hiking solo or with a group, it is a good idea to bring water to keep hydrated. Also, check the forecast and prepare for the worst weather - bring a heavy coat if the temperature is expected to dip or a slicker if there is a chance of rain. Whether you go on a two hour, two day, or two week hike—have fun, bring a guidebook or map, explore the area, and enjoy nature.

Body Benefits
Hiking is a great way to burn fat while toning your body. It helps improve muscle strength in your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes, and also is a great exercise for building endurance. For an extra challenge, carry a backpack with water and snacks; this will help you burn off more calories.

Warming Up and Cooling Down
For the first five to 10 minutes of your hike, walk at a slow pace to allow your muscles to warm up and your heart rate to increase gradually. Once you’ve broken a sweat, you can increase your pace. At the end of your hike, slow down your pace for several minutes to let your body cool down.

Be sure to stretch your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps before your hike and again after your cool down to prevent injury and reduce soreness.


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