Let’s face it, getting the motivation to work out can be difficult—especially in the summer. Between warm weather and barbecues, going to a gym or working out at home can feel like you’re missing out on the day.
It turns out that hiking might be the workout you’ve been looking for. It comes with a ton of surprising health benefits and you can go hiking for little to no cost. Plus, switching up workouts can challenge your body and help you get stronger. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Hiking can help:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Increase bone density
- Build lower body strength
- Strengthen your core
- Improve balance
- Control weight
- Improve mood
Like any workout, it’s important to be prepared before getting started. Be sure to follow these tips before heading out.
Go with Friends
No matter how experienced you are, it’s best to hit the trails with someone else if possible, especially on unfamiliar routes. Also, exercising with others makes it easier—it feels less like a workout and more like catching up.
Your body sweats to keep cool, but you might not realize how much you’re sweating on the trail. Bring plenty of water to sip on throughout the hike. Drinking water is essential for other body functions, too. It can keep you energized for longer and even reduce joint pain.
Always check the weather beforehand and dress appropriately. Your body temperature and the weather can change fast when you’re hiking, so bring multiple, comfortable layers that can be added or taken off as needed. If there’s even a small chance of rain, bring a waterproof rain jacket just in case.
Stick to Trails
You might be tempted to explore off path, but it’s easy to lose your direction. Stick to designated trails, which are usually maintained and have signs or color markers you can follow. Keep a copy of the trail map in your pocket or on your phone.
If you’re looking to get active and start hiking, our Online Health Coach helps you earn rewards for hitting your goals. Standard and Basic Option members can complete health and wellness goals and earn money for qualified medical expenses like copays and prescription glasses.