Hiking – Fit the Trail

When your travels take you someplace with a lot of natural outdoor beauty;  you’re also getting up close and personal with an exhilarating and healthy leisure activity. Hiking and trail running offer more than just scenic views and interesting wildlife. These pursuits also provide a challenging and diverse workout for the cardio-inclined.

By nature, the walking/running surface is uneven – requiring more balance, coordination and strength than running on roads, tracks and treadmills. The cardio intensity also varies so unexpectedly that your overall cardio fitness improves quite rapidly so that it may always be prepared for the next hill or incline. As well, the loose soil and terrain are much easier on the joints, so the chances of impact-related injuries are noticeably diminished.

The best part – you need little, if any, specialized gear to enjoy a good trail. A regular pair of running shoes and a pair of over-the-ankle socks is enough to get you nearly anywhere you want to go. If hitting the trails becomes a regular habit – you may consider hybrid footwear that will dry quickly after encounters with water or barefoot running shoes (the ones with glove-like separators for each toe) that will allow for maximum grip and stability on uneven terrain. One thing you’ll want to leave at home is your mp3 player. Trails require more focus and attention than flat surfaces – not just because of the surface itself, but also because of wildlife and other activities such as hunting that occur in wooded areas. Your sense of hearing is an important asset while out and about. Besides – immersing yourself in nature means disconnecting from technology.