Hiking every day – good or bad? Healthy or not? It is obvious that humans have become more and more sedentary because of increasing technology. Hence, hiking frequently could bring us back to our roots as well as bring us health benefits. Living an inactive life for a long time can lead to dangerous effects on the body like obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and many others.
In addition, most people do not have the time or the disciple to endure intense workouts at gyms or at homes. However, there is another way to get healthy, fit, and happy without having to go through torturous exercises. Hiking can replace these workout sessions as it is just a brisk walk through a forest or a trudge through the mountain tops. Moreover, numerous amount of positive mental and physical benefits come with everyday hiking.
Nonetheless, too much of something good could become a bad thing in some situations. So, when is hiking too much or when is it fine? But, maybe it is not about frequency and volume, but more about technique and experience. It is a well-known fact that hiking is stereotyped to be an incredibly vigorous and draining exercise taking a toll on your feet and legs. Henceforth, it makes trekking daily seem like it may break down your body.
Nevertheless, facts do not mean that it will happen in all cases. Generally, a rule of thumb for hiking is to adopt a pace that you can talk well without puffing at all. It is called brisk walking and in terms of heart rate, people must aim for 40-60% of their maximum heart rate capacity to ensure a brisk but healthy walk. Hiking activity can be low intensity or high intensity, a few hours long, or a whole week long. Additionally, it could be on a high mountain trail with low oxygen or at a local forest at sea level.
So, coming back to the main question is hiking daily good for you even when accounting for so many different factors? The answer is given by expert hikers – with the right equipment, technique, elevation, time length, and trail, hiking can be for everyone. Some humans can hike eighteen miles a day for weeks straight and some other people have gained increased health benefits after hiking twenty-five miles a day for a month straight with a couple of rest days mixed in.
Is It Healthy To Hike Every Day?
There are many perks both physically and mentally you can gain from hiking. In the broadest sense, it improves your overall balance, strength, and endurance. For people who have never been to hikes, the following are the specifics:
- Improves health and resistance to strokes and heart diseases as there is a link between outdoor adventures and good cardiac health
- Gain a lot of Vitamin D from exposure to the natural light of the sun, which can make you resistant to various heart diseases
- An excellent activity for improving cardiovascular and respiratory health
- Boosts the health of your heart and lungs sufficiently by enhancing the cardio-respiratory health
- Risk for the most common ailments like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can be reduced
- Lose weight to combat adverse effects of overweight or obesity through fun, exciting and adventurous hiking instead of bland and boring gym
- Explore nature, meet people, and relish the freshness of the outside world through hiking
- Great means of combating cancer and its recurrence by hiking or walking a mile every day
- Elevates muscular fitness as it makes muscles stronger specifically in your hips, quads, hamstrings, calves, legs, and glutes
- Low-intensity or high intensity, hiking can help you build up your overall strength
- Improves muscle flexibility while traveling uphills and downhills
- Relieves stress and worries of life and all the bad hormones in your body
- Can be useful in improving your mental abilities maybe because of the oxygen in your brain gives cerebral sharpness
- Can reduce cholesterol levels and is more effective the more you do it
- Strengthens your bond with others – friends, families, relatives
- Can be one of the key factors to boost self-confidence during solo hikes
How Often Should You Hike?
A core matter of the question – How many times can you hike in a week? Shortest and broadest answer – You can hike daily especially if it is just a brisk day hike. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with it if you have been trained specifically to do this low-intensity activity. Usually, an hour’s hikes to friendly trails every day are more than enough. Moreover, you can even do more during weekends or day-offs to put your mind away from stressful environments.
However, busy people need not push themselves to hike daily. Even once a week, three to five hours long hiking trips can suffice as a great outdoor activity. Remember – you gain a lot of benefits from this activity, but it does not mean you have to push yourself to make it a mandatory part of your life. For newcomers or beginners, hiking once or twice per week is usually enough. It is a recommended starting frequency because, unlike determined and experienced hikers, beginners may get easily tired, fed-up, or give up thinking that it is too tough.
How Long Should You Hike Per Day?
Honestly, a person can hike as far as fifteen miles a day. However, before you can achieve this milestone, you need to make sure you have the right kind of fitness and training. Moreover, you can achieve this even if you are not that well trained for covering the distance. But, one thing is set in concrete – your entire body will be aching whether you are training or hiking. Another thing that is important to notice – not all trails are the same.
Ordinary people can complete a fifteen-mile hike easily if the trail is fairly straightforward, leveled, established, and paved. In addition, if this hike includes technical routes that need specific directions, cliffs, challenging spots, it would become extremely difficult to cover it within the day. On average, a person can hike at least three miles in an hour as it is already plenty of time and distance for many. Amateurs can cover two miles at most as several factors can affect the distance, which includes the terrain, weather, and the load you are carrying.
If an average person is planning to complete an eight-hour hike, he or she could cover up to twenty miles. But of course, they need to rest properly in the middle of hiking, so that the distance they want to cover won’t be cut short because of exertion. The length of the hike can also be reduced in the case of bad weather or a heavy backpack. Warmups and warmdowns are essential for proper hiking and an easy way to do this is to treat your walk from your home/car to your trailhead and back.
The answer to the question how long should you hike per day? Differs from situation to situation and person to person. Majorly, the distance you can cover depends on your physical condition, ability level, and also the terrain of the trail. It is a common fact that it is easier to move swiftly on flat areas and difficult on rough terrains or uphill portions. Finishing the hike is always the main point in such situations. Nonetheless, some people may have trouble finishing their hikes, or they may even injure themselves from overexertion.
This can disrupt their mood, resulting in low morale, and turn your overall fun and enjoyment throughout the activity upside down. But, the key here is to know yourself, your capabilities, and the terrain you are about to take. There is no right answer to figuring out the best way to know how far you can hike as it all depends on your hiking style and pace. Moreover, the main things you need to be concerned about during this activity are the difficulty of the trail and the overall weight load you are carrying.
Long Distance Trekking Health Benefits
Long-distance trekking can provide you with significant health benefits, but you would always have to consult a primary care physician or a local physician before going forward with a long-distance walk plan. Regular walking is always good for reducing levels of high blood pressure and cholesterol. Along with that, it helps by increasing blood flow throughout the body and overall weight loss. Hiking can also keep your bones strong and toning muscles.
Doctors who often work with elite athletes state that long-distance walking can be as good as running and most cases even better. It is true that running is more physically demanding than walking, but dedicated studies have shown that long-distance walking provides similar benefits to short or long runs. We all know walking and running are two very different fitness activities. Hence, it can be difficult to compare the advantages provided by each against one another.
But, keeping in mind that walking is always a leg up on running, the higher use of smaller muscles and slower motion capability can make walking a simpler activity to choose. Nevertheless, long-distance walking is a form of light hiking recommended by many professionals. You can and should do it every day, if possible so that you can receive the health benefits hiking readily gives you.
A straightforward definition for hiking is walking in nature for recreation. Hiking promotes natural physical fitness among people especially among the ones with sedentary occupations. This exercise is both economical and convenient and usually requires no special equipment. Hikers can walk however they want and as far as they want without physical strain unless they walk among hills or mountains. Hiking every day is a good thing as long as you pace yourself and as far as your body allows. But, it becomes a lot more complicated if you are out of shape.
So, find lighter gear and/or choose easier trails if you have just recently picked up hiking as a hobby. Furthermore, if you want to hike long-distance, invest time and effort into getting in shape and put this work in early so your body will be ready for the day when you need it most. The more you train, the faster you can go, which means the further you can go, which in turn means the more distance you can cover and the better your average hiking distance becomes. Finally, the more you hike, the more health benefits you can gain.
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.