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Master Summer Hikes With These Tips

By Rachel Carver

Exercise comes in many forms. Whether you walk, run, or hit the gym, summer is a great time to incorporate hiking into your workout routine.

Spending more time in nature can improve mood and overall health. Read on for some ways to become a hiking pro.

Start Small

New hikers want to start with something that can realistically be accomplished. Pick a short trail for your first hike. With some experience, you will be able to increase the intensity and hike duration.

Be Prepared

Hiking trails are graded as easy, intermediate or difficult. Easy trails lack obstacles. Intermediate trails give you some uneven terrain and small inclines. Difficult trails present very challenging terrain and steep inclines.

Gym workouts may not prepare you for a difficult hiking trail. You might not use the same muscles climbing up a steep hiking trail as you do on the treadmill. Start with an easier, flat trail to get yourself used to hiking before going to harder trails.

Strength Training Is Key

Cardio workouts are great for weight loss and overall health. However, you'll need strong legs and core muscles to conquer steep terrain. Strengthen these muscles with squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell exercises. Make sure you are doing them correctly before you increase the frequency or the weight.

Bring a Map

You can get lost even on well-marked trails. Download a map to your smartphone, or take a photo of the trailhead. Better yet, bring a printed map with you. Technology is great until you lose cell service or your phone dies.

Make a Plan

You need to know more than just your hiking trail. Plan your parking spot, how long the hike will take, and when you will turn around if this is part of your route. Share this plan with a family member or friend not joining you on your hike.

Dress Accordingly

Don't go by your current weather. Remember mountain weather can change quickly. And summer often brings thunderstorms.

Wear moisture-wicking clothing. Pack a light raincoat, and make sure your footwear is suited for hiking.

With some planning, hiking can become a fun physical activity to mix up your workouts. In addition to proper clothing, remember to bring plenty of water.

Enjoy solo hikes, or recruit a hiking buddy to keep you motivated and on track with your fitness goals. And head to The Joint Chiropractic clinic near you if you experience foot, knee, or lower back pain from your time outdoors.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mukilteo, Wash.

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