Regular exercise improves your health and lengthens your life. But with spring around the corner, this doesn’t mean you have to spend long hours within the walls of a gym or be confined to the sidewalks of your neighborhood.
Hiking is an excellent way to break up a monotonous exercise routine and get away from the stress of daily life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Canada’s Physical Activity Guide, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise nearly every day of the week [1,2].
A brisk two-mile (about 3.2 km) hike over level terrain is enough to meet this goal, but even walking at a more comfortable pace can have short- and long-term benefits for your health.
Hiking in the great outdoors can bring a sense of adventure to your fitness routine. However, because you can be faced with uneven terrain and steep inclines, often while wearing a heavy backpack, you need to make sure you are prepared and take some simple precautions. Otherwise you could be faced with muscle and joint pain, ankle sprains, or knee and lower back pain.
For more great hiking tips or to discuss the benefits of having an injury prevention assessment before you hit the trails, you should talk to the trained, licensed Physical Therapists at ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY. If you have already been hurt while hiking or participating in another physical activity, one of our Physical Therapists would be happy to assess your injury and create a program that will get back on your feet. Call ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for Everyone: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html. Updated May 10, 2010. Accessed December 20, 2010.
2. Public Health Agency of Canada. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living. Available from http://www.csep.ca/english/view.asp?x=723. Accessed December 20, 2010.
3. American Heart Association. Fighting Heart Disease and Stroke, Physical Activity Calorie Use Chart. http://184.108.40.206/presenter.jhtml?identifier=756. Accessed December 20, 2010.
4. Hardman AE, Hudson A. Brisk walking and serum lipid and lipoprotein variables in previously sedentary women–effect of 12 weeks of regular brisk walking followed by 12 weeks of detraining. Br J Sports Med. 1994;28:261-266.
5. Tully MA, Cupples ME, Hart ND, et al. Randomised controlled trial of home-based walking programmes at and below current recommended levels of exercise in sedentary adults. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007;61:778-783.
6. Bricklin M, Spilner M, eds. Prevention’s Practical Encyclopedia of Walking for Health: From Age-Reversal to Weight Loss, the Most Complete Guide Ever Written. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc; 1993.
7. Jenab M, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Ferrari P, et al. Association between pre-diagnostic circulating vitamin D concentration and risk of colorectal cancer in European populations: a nested case-control study. BMJ. 2010 Jan 21;340:b5500.