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The Cardio Benefits of Trekking

Exercise is an important factor in a healthy lifestyle, yet only about half the population does it regularly; maybe because exercise is considered time-consuming, boring and monotonous. It doesn’t have to be. It can be an exciting and new experience every time.

Trekking can be as easy as walking in your neighborhood, or as difficult as a mountain climb, depending on your current activity level. Unlike the treadmill, trekking offers new scenery, different terrain, and requires almost no equipment.

Interval cardio involves short bursts of exertion, and trekking is an excellent example. Trekking involves walking up and down hills and possibly climbing. Walking uphill will bring your heart closer to the target, aerobic rate, while walking downhill will give your heart rate a chance to recover. Climbing can also bring your heart rate up to aerobic levels, but also can work the leg, arm, and core muscles giving you the added benefit of strength training. Interval training helps the metabolism function better, burning more calories for a longer period of time than steady cardio workouts.

Stretching before trekking should include calves, hips, quadriceps, and lower back muscles. Periodic stretching after higher intensity sessions will help prevent soreness. When carrying a backpack, evenly distribute the weight inside so that one side is not heavier than the other, and stretch your neck and shoulders every 30 minutes. Bring plenty of water on your hike to prevent dehydration, something light and mobile like a water bladder is pretty effective for this purpose. Drink some before your hike, and 5-12 ounces every 15 minutes during the hike. Hydrating yourself will also help prevent muscle soreness.

Hiking footwear is the only equipment you need for trekking. If your ankles are prone to turning easily, find a pair of mid-cut or high-cut boots. Low-cut shoes are fine if you are on flatter ground and carrying a light load. Choose shoes based on the terrain you plan to cover most of the time. If there is water, be sure to choose footwear that dries easily with full-grain or synthetic leather as well as a waterproof lining.

The cardio and physical benefits are far superior to the benefits you receive from walking on a treadmill. Trekking is an activity you can enjoy with your entire family. You may love it so much that you can’t wait to workout!

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/hiking-your-way-to-better-health
http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=2551
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/hiking+footwear.html

 

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