Take a Hike

Hi friends! Sorry for the somewhat quiet week. A quiet week online means a busy week in real life. I gained a pound the second week of the ActivTrax challenge and wasn’t particularly happy about it, but as you’ll see in my post about motivation, sometimes it’s not the easiest to stay on track. The weather in Iowa has been getting beautiful lately and I have been itching to get outside as much as possible. To end this weekend on a high note, today was spent planting new seeds and hiking! It just doesn’t get much better than that.

ledges1Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities, although there aren’t a ton of places to do it in Iowa. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I can count on the great outdoors to supply just that. Hiking is an activity that has brought my Fiancé and I together. We take every opportunity we can to enjoy this pass-time with each other. One of our favorite places to go is Ledges State Park in Madrid, Iowa. Since it is only a 30-45-minute drive from where he lives, it is an easy half-day activity that gives us a much needed break from everyday life. Almost every vacation we take includes hiking and finding special places to explore.

There are many reasons I like hiking. Probably my favorite aspect of hiking is all the amazing scenery and time with nature. However, there are also many health benefits to make you appreciate hiking:

  • It is a powerful cardio workout
  • It is a low-impact cardio workout that isn’t as hard on joints as high-impact things such as running
  • Hiking reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer
  • Hiking helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Hiking is a weight-bearing activity. You have to hold your body weight up against gravity as well as often carrying things on your back while staying erect. These kinds of activities help protect against osteoporosis and boost bone density.
  • Hiking is good for many of your muscles including the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower leg muscles.
  • Hiking is a great mood enhancer and is good at alleviating stress and anxiety

ledges2.jpg

Want to burn more calories on your hike? While hiking itself is a good way to burn calories, you can increase the burn by looking for hilly regions, even if they are only a 5-10% increase in elevation. Also, try loading your backpack up with a few more pounds. Carrying this extra weight will help you torch calories. Always remember to hike with a buddy for safety (and fun), stay hydrated, and work at your own pace or skill level. Have a wonderful week everyone and make sure you get out and enjoy some fitness in the great outdoors!

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