The Benefits of Hiking to Your Health

Hiking CoverWe here at Lightload Towels are huge fans of anything that takes us outdoors, into the wilds, but hiking holds a special place in our hearts, literally! 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 Fourth of July weekend, take note of all the good you are doing for your body. Oh and be sure to bring along a couple of our hand towels to mop up the glow of exercise!

For adults, regular aerobic exercise such as hiking leads to:

  • Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
  • Improved muscular fitness
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lower risk of colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial cancer
  • Increased bone density or a slower loss of density
  • Reduced depression and better quality sleep
  • Lower risk of early death (If you are active for 7 hours a week, your risk of dying early is 40% lower than someone active for less than 30 minutes a week.)
  • Weight control; hiking burns up 370 calories an hour (154-lb person)

Kids get many of the same benefits, including:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness
  • Better bone health
  • Less chance of becoming overweight
  • Less chance of developing risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Possibly reduced risk of depression and feeling less stress, more ready to learn in school
  • Sleeping better at night

What’s more, hiking exercises almost every part of your body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips and butt, abdominals, shoulders and neck. “Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination,” says Ignacio Malpica, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boulder, Colorado. “It creates awareness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses.”

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.

For more tips on Hiking, Biking and much more check out our website http://www.ultralighttowels.com

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