Getting into fabulous shape can be achieved through outdoor fitness training. Hiking can be a rigorous activity, which promotes muscle strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and power. Outdoor hiking has a unique set of traits, which cannot be simulated by exercising in a gym.
Start Slowly to Build Strength and Endurance
Hiking on varying terrains, angles and altitudes can be very taxing on the body, and requires a certain level of physical fitness to perform. The key is slow and steady progression through a hiking regimen. Going full force right away will burn you out, and may increase the chances of injury. Set reasonable, attainable goals, and slowly increase your speed and distance as you progress through your hiking routine.
Endurance and Stamina
Hiking involves a steady pace of uphill walking that provides a low intensity workout over a long period of time. This stimulates the body's ability to sustain long-term endurance by improving cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. A certain pace that can be practiced on flat terrain is much easier than the same pace performed on an uphill slope, which helps to keep the heart rate elevated.
Your cardiovascular fitness can be greatly improved through outdoor hiking. As your heart rate elevates - and remains elevated for a long period of time - your body becomes more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen. The more frequently you perform this activity, the longer you will be able to maintain this elevated heart rate with less difficulty. Interval training can be incorporated into a hiking routine to increase cardiovascular fitness. This is done by incorporating short bursts of high intensity jogs or sprints up the hill, followed by periods of rest through slow walking.
Lower Body Muscle Power and Development
Outdoor hiking helps to develop strong, powerful legs by engaging all the muscles in the lower body. The quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and gluteal muscles are all involved in the uphill lifting and movement of the body. Adding a backpack to the hike can add even greater resistance, especially if you have been practicing this activity for a while.
Hiking is a great way to maintain or lose weight. The calories burned through hiking can be as high as 500 to 750 in an hour, depending on the intensity of your hike. For those who are very fit, the pace of the hike can be quickened by incorporating bursts of jogs to increase calories burned.
Agility and Coordination
Outdoor fitness training can improve your coordination and agility by walking through rough terrain. Proper balance and surefootedness are essential to hiking through varying types of terrain encountered on uphill hikes. This can further develop fine muscles in the legs.