Hiking’s one of my favourite outdoor physical activities. I enjoy working on my aerobic fitness, appreciate the breathtaking scenery and fresh air, plus it offers adventure!Here’s how your body benefits from hiking:
- Aerobic: By trekking along a trail you’re more than likely to meet the recommended guidelines of at least 150 minutes per week, and you’ll be surprised at how fast a few hours can go by. Carrying a backpack and maneuvering hilly terrain increases your breathing rate and strengthens your heart and bones!
- Balance: Rocks and roots will challenge your balance. Moving through this uneven terrain is a good way to improve balance and confidence tackling tricky trails.
- Mental health: Both aerobic activity and time spent in the outdoors are beneficial to mental health. Learn more about the importance of getting back to nature.
Now that you’re convinced to lace up the boots, here’s how to best enjoy your trips:
- Pacing: Try the talk test: if you can say a brief sentence without being out of breath you’re at a good pace. It’s natural to get out of breath on hills; take a break if you need to and get back to a steady rhythm afterward.
- Equipment: the right equipment will make your experience that much more enjoyable. Find a list of items you may need here.
- Packing: Pack heavier items close to your body and the bottom of the pack. Make sure you have a properly fitting backpack. Use this advice to find the right fit.
- Trails: Choose the perfect place to explore. Some helpful resources for finding trails are BC Parks and Trails BC. You can also search for walks and hikes in your community on Healthy Families BC Walking Challenge.
- Safety: When choosing a trail, think of your current fitness level and hiking experience. Start with daytrips to improve your hiking endurance and test out your gear before doing multiday hikes. Always carry the 10 essentials and inform a non-accompanying adult of your trail and estimated return time.
The beauty of hiking is that it caters to everyone. Families can explore trails together, making for family time and active play; fanatic hikers can get their dose of endorphins by pushing the pace; and those wanting a more relaxed experience can take in our beautiful BC surroundings. Where is your favourite place to hike?
Photo Credit: BC Gov Photos