It’s no secret that we live in some amazingly beautiful parts of our country. Many of you may have moved here for that reason and a lot of you have chosen to STAY here for that reason. Taking in all of the beauty that surrounds us can be done in a lot of ways, but there’s something about getting on foot and hiking through it that leaves you breathless…literally.
The good news is you don’t even have to be in super fit condition to enjoy hikes in our area nor do you have to be an outdoor athlete or enthusiast. And let’s be honest, some of us prefer sleeping in our own beds without bears and mosquitos, but we like to enjoy the beautiful outdoors too! If time is a factor, there are so many places we can explore just a short drive away and make mini adventures out of our day. Sometimes, you need an “entry level” hike for the short legged family members or some of our older parents or friends that would like to enjoy hiking too. Montana and Idaho have hikes for every body! We’ll be sharing some of our favorites on social media and we’ve asked all of you to share yours too! (If you’re not following us on social, our links are listed down below!)
Hiking is exercise…obviously. But we get more out of hiking than just calorie burn!
Benefits of Hiking you may not be thinking about:
🌄 Walking on uneven terrain is a dynamic workout that increases your heart rate and metabolic rate, causing calories to burn faster.
🌄 That same uneven terrain trains the smaller muscles that strengthen and support joints. Because you’re shifting your weight, balancing your body, and walking at awkward (and sometimes extreme) angles, hiking causes you to engage and strengthen muscles you wouldn’t use otherwise.
🌄 Rocks, tree stumps, maneuvering obstacles and climbing uneven paths activate core muscles.
🌄 We tend to go longer when we hike which builds endurance in muscles, heart and lungs.
🌄 Fresh air, sunshine and breathtaking scenery are not only good for your physical health, but they are good for your mental health.
Now that we’re thinking about where we can do our next hike, here are a few more pointers to help you before and after a hike.
Pre and post short hike tips:
- Fuel up! Eat a balanced meal of healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein before heading out on the trail. The balance of nutrients will help sustain you longer.
- Warm up! Before you head into a hike, it’s a good idea to warm up your legs and prepare for the hike…especially if it starts on an incline. Take 5-10 minutes and walk around the parking area, roll your ankles, stretch your back and legs and then you’ll feel like you’re ready to go!
- Pack water! Always. The sun, the exercise, the elevation, the length of time…your muscles need to be hydrated!
- Pack snacks! If you’re going to be hiking for longer than 1 hour, pack some easy snacks. You’ll want some carbohydrate in your snack for quick refueling. Fruit, a healthy granola bar or a half of a nut butter and honey sandwich should do the trick.
- Lather up! The sun is often direct so put that sunscreen on (and maybe some insect repellent).
- Drink up! For every 20 minutes of hiking, try to drink 8 oz of water to replenish what was used.
- Take time to stretch after hiking. Stretch calves, hamstrings (backs of legs), quadriceps (fronts of legs), glutes (back side), hip flexors, low back and your IT band. Get on our email list if you’re not all ready. We’ll be sending some yoga sequences to help open you up from hiking as well as some stretch and mobility ideas. Go to your club’s social media page and click on the bio link (Instagram) or the “learn more” blue button on Facebook to get on that list! We send some helpful resources to your inbox each month to support your journey of getting healthy and living healthy.
Enjoy exploring our neck of the woods we live in. What a privilege that we have that opportunity to help us get healthy and live healthy!