From Jenn

Take a Hike

TakeAHike2010.jpg

I’m not your typical vacation goer. I don’t really do beaches or tropical destinations as I need enough Aveeno 45 to cover a small army. And I’m not one to be content laying around for seven days in a row. Two or three maybe, but longer than that and I go a bit mad. That’s why almost every summer, my hubby and I loadup the car with camping gear and hit the road in search of mountains. Even in summer, if you’re up high enough in the mountains where it’s cool enough that you need to cover your body in layers of clothes, you rarely need sunscreen for anything other than your face. And when you’re camping, you usually good a good mix of adventure and some serious relaxation with Mother Nature. Oh, yes, this scene is perfect for me:

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my fave places to camp and just a few weeks ago, I spent five nights there, hiking darn near every day. And I’ll tell you what. HIKING IS A DAMN GOOD WORKOUT. Most of the trails we did were at least a round trip of 8 miles, and they were steep. Steep as in my heart was in my head pounding away as I gasped for breath, trying to still look like the Fit Bottomed Girl that I claim to be. Yes, adjusting to the altitude was an issue for me, who went from a hometown altitude of 270 feet to upwards of 13,000 feet in a single day’s drive, but when you’re scampering up boulders (BIG, BIG rocks, people), you’re bound to use muscles that Billy Blanks missed.


Five Reasons Why Hiking Is Awesome
1. It’s not the gym. I don’t care how cool or trendy a health club is, nothing and I mean nothing beats a mountain-filled landscape, a pristine lake or a meadow covered in wild flowers. Be sure to take along a buddy though, as hiking by yourself is a good way to get eaten by a bear or cougar (the big, scary kitty cat kind, not the older woman dating a man eight years her junior kind—although both are frightening for their own reasons).

2. It burns mad cals. Depending on how steep and how fast your pace is, hiking can easily burn more than 500 calories in a 60-minute session. And on many hikes, an hour is considered ashort one. Two of the hikes we went on lasted more than seven hours, so beware. Pack water and high-density foods (we like trail mix and Clif Bars) to power you through. This isn’t the time to skimp on calories, as your body needs the fuel.

3. Your fit bottom will thank you. Hiking primarily works the quads, hamstrings and gluteus maximus, but even your upper body and core get involved, making it one heck of a full-body workout.

4. There’s no telling what you’ll see. Besides staring at my husband’s arse for entire afternoons at a time (no matter how good of shape I’m in, his pace is always quicker than mine. I find this to be infuriating most of the time, but this time the view made up for the offense), I saw elk, butterflies, a snowshoe hare and even a snake (although I could have done without that one). I’m not sure where you live, but in my neighborhood, those critters aren’t usually out walking around. Combine that with breathtaking scenery, and you have a win-win.

5. You accomplish something. There’s nothing like literally climbing a mountainto build confidence in yourself and your abilities—both physically and mentally. Once you’ve stood on top of the world, there’s nothing you can’t do.

Convinced? Every state may not have mountains to summit, but all have some sort of trail for you to cut your hiking teeth on. Also, when hiking, Mama Jenn must mention that it’s important for you to pack a small first aid kit, plenty of water and food, and a variety of clothing options. Happy trails! —Jenn

 



Comments

  1. tfh says

    I’m with you. Whenever we have vacation time we love going camping. And climbing mountains is kind of like going up stairs: even the most fit person in the world finds it challenging (if they’ve not trained for it)!

  2. Mark Salinas says

    I agree! Hiking is awesome! Burns some mad cals definitely! Proper shoes for me are so important with all of the twists and turns…the ankles tend wimp out on me. Hope you had a great weekend!

  3. christie i says

    Hiking is my favorite form of exercise. The dear husband and I are headed camping in a couple of weekends for some hiking and mother nature time.

  4. Erica says

    I would love to go on a vacation like this! The last time I did was in high school! Hiking vacations are good for the mind and the heart!

  5. Stacey Shipman says

    I love hiking. The physical aspects are great for the body, the views and nature experience are great for the mind and soul. We haven’t been camping in a while – maybe it’s time to plan a trip.

  6. James Lemoine II says

    Hiking is a great activity for exercise, I go on a few hiking trips every year.

    Be sure to pack enough food, even when going on a short trip. Hiking burns a lot of calories and you’ll need additional energy while on a hike.

    Great Article!

  7. eatingbender says

    I love hiking! I went to the Grand Canyon last summer and my dad and I have plans to hike one of the many small mountains in AZ this week!

    I love the cougar comment :o)

  8. Danica says

    I am SO JEALOUS that you have great hiking trails around you, I’m covered in a complete concrete jungle. Looks amazing though :)

  9. Jenn says

    Mark: Funny that you mention shoes…that will be in a future post. :)

    James: Good point about food. Hiking is NOT the time to cut cals. I scarfed down a wonderful Clif bar and lots of trail mix. Yum…

    Danica: It was a 13-hour drive (yeowsers, I know), but TOTALLY worth it!

  10. carla says

    You’re right.

    Hiking is awesome.

    Love,

    MizFit whose dream vay cay right now is a tad more drinks on the beach (shhhh!)

  11. Amy S says

    I am so hooked on hiking that I will look for a trail whenever and wherever I am while traveling away from my home. You are right. There are trails everywhere. I have even found them visiting family in the suburbs near New York City and right in the middle of Atlanta.

    No better exercise for the body and even better for the head!!

  12. Anonymous says

    Hiking is indeed awesome! I always include it in my Camping trips every time. My friends always went hiking but I would never go because I don’t really like running but since the first time trying it I fell in love.

  13. Andrea says

    If you love hiking it will be worth your time checking out American Hiking Society, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting trails and the hiking experience. They also offer Volunteer Vacations across the country.

    http://www.americanhiking.org

  14. GirlOverboard says

    Yay, hiking! The best way to spend a day, especially for somebody like me who just isn’t satisfied in a regular ol’ gym. :)

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