Recently I was able to scoop Martha out of her gym and take her outside for a fabulous early morning hike in The Pound Ridge Reservation, just minutes from her house. She resisted at first, but when I insisted she get in the car, she relented. (You know she doesn’t like being told what to do, right?!) The point was, I felt she needed some fresh air (we’d been training inside for days and it was a spectacular morning), and we also needed to get in a good workout.
One of my very favorite workouts is hiking. Wherever we travel, whatever the weather--sun, snow, rain, heat, cold, humidity--it doesn’t matter. I search for a fabulous place to take a hike and rev my heart rate.
Why Should You Hike?
- It doesn’t cost a thing.
- Anyone can do it.
- You can speed it up or slow it down.
- You get in touch with nature.
- Hiking helps to clear your mind.
- It’s a great thing to do with friends!
What are the Health Benefits?
- Helps prevent high blood pressure
- Helps relieve the painful symptoms of arthritis
- Relieves leg and back pain
- Helps to prevent and control diabetes.
- Raises the seratonin levels in the body, which in turn boosts mood and makes you happy!
Getting in Your Cardio
Use this target heart rate equation to make sure you are working in your target heart rate zone while hiking:
- 220-your age= your maximum heart rate
- Max heart rate x 65% = low end of your target heart rate
- Max heart rate x 85% =high end of your target heart rate
- 220-40 years old =180bpm (this would be the max heart rate)
- 180bpm x 65%=117bpm
- 180bpm x 85%=153bpm
- Your target heart rate is 117-153bpm.
Helpful Tips for Hiking
- Wear a watch while you’re hiking and take your pulse to see where you’re at.
- Keep your heart rate in the target range for at least 30 minutes during your hike.
- Increase the intensity level to boost stamina or take a longer hike to increase your endurance.
- When hiking uphill be sure to hydrate and take short breaks if you feel you need to.
- Downhill hiking can prove to be just as challenging as uphill. To keep your balance and help stability, take smaller steps.
- Be sure to always look out for protruding roots and rocks. While hiking, lift you feet just a tad higher than you would walking on pavement.
And don’t forget to take the time while hiking to breathe in the fresh air and feel gratitude for being alive!
Mary Tedesco is personal trainer to Martha Stewart and owner of Body Fit Personal Training in Cross River, New York. Please visit her website at MaryTedescoFitness.com.