Did you know that November 17th is National Take a Hike Day? Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s a perfect time to hit the trail and go on a hike! Besides being a fun activity that you can enjoy with friends and family, there are many health benefits of going on a walk or hike outside. Some of these include:
- Improved cardiorespiratory fitness (this is the ability of the body’s circulatory and respiratory system to supply fuel and oxygen during sustained physical activity)
- Improved muscular fitness
- Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
- Lower risk of High Blood Pressure and Type 2 Diabetes
- Lower risk of high cholesterol and high triglycerides (There are two different types of cholesterol: LDL and HD. Low levels of LDL and triglycerides help lower the risk of cardiac disease)
- Increased bone density or slower loss of density (Higher bone density reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis)
- Reduced depression and better quality of sleep
- Weight control – Exercise burns calories!
When? Many people feel too busy to exercise during a busy week, but even 20-60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each day is sufficient to gain health benefits. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity generally includes anything where your heart and breathing rate are increased due to exertion, but at a level during which you can still carry on a conversation. This can certainly include hiking. The recommended 20-60 minutes of aerobic exercise each day doesn’t even have to be done at all at once. Hiking up a hill near your office at lunch could take about 10 minutes and count for half of your aerobic activity for the day. Another quick walk with your dog or a friend or significant other in the evening could readily add another 10 minutes or more of activity to your daily schedule.
Where? There are many places to hike in the Austin and the surrounding area. Barton Creek Greenbelt, McKinney Falls State Park, Twin Falls, and the Town Lake trail are just a few examples of great places to hike in Austin. Check out this link to get more ideas of places to get out in the central Austin area.
We’ll see you on the trail… Go on and take a hike!