Walking is one of the easiest, most accessible, and effective forms of exercise out there. Most of us walk every day so we think nothing of it. But the walking we do is usually just a way to get from point A to point B. However, walking can be so much more!
There are three mains ways to kick it up; increase distance, increase speed, and/or increase the incline. Let’s talk about the benefits of incline walking, also known as hills.
1. Improved strength and endurance
Walking uphill engages your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes far more than walking on a flat surface. By placing this extra demand on your muscles, you end up with stronger legs, glutes and core! The steeper the hills, the more lunge like the walking. You also get a boost in your endurance by the increase in heart rate, not to mention the additional increase in fat and calorie burns and cardio efficiency.
2. Weight loss
Walking at an incline on the treadmill or up hills has been shown to burn up to 60% more calories than walking on a flat surface. So, thank you gravity! Not to mention you can burn just as many calories walking uphill at a quick pace as you can by jogging on a flat surface and without the pounding. By altering the terrain and incline of your walk you increase the intensity of your workout. Upping your incline will leave you with an UP in calories burned!
3. Less Strain on your Joints
All forms of exercise come with some form of inherent warning or precursor to injury. The great thing about walking is that unless you’re distracted while walking the odds are you’ll finish every workout injury free! Walking is very low-impact and super gentle on the body, putting very little stress on ligaments and joints. Walking uphill can be great for athletes of all ages, gender, weight, and ailments. You’re still getting the cardio activity corelated with running and other aerobic activities by adding in hills to your walk but putting much less strain on your body.
4. Boosts your Mood
Studies have shown that getting outside for just 30-minutes a day can have dramatic effects on your mood. Taking a break from your day to get outside, breath in fresh air, and experience nature can completely change your outlook on the day. This improvement in mood has been linked to improved focus, reduced stress, decreased risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart attack or stroke, and lessened feelings of depression.
5. Cheap, easy and anyone can do it
We walk all day, every day and it costs us nothing. All you need to do is step out your front door and you’ve got access to exercise. There is no cost for a gym or equipment. Added benefits; walking works in all weather and is a great activity to do with others! Keep your walks interesting and challenging by changing up the location, variety in hills, duration and distance!
Now get out there, grab a few friends, and walk until you have a sweat and feel a little huffing and puffing because if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Goes well with hiking gear ...