To be honest, exercising for heart health simply isn't going to be everyone's favorite pastime. If it were, we'd see a society with far fewer cardiac health issues.
Nonetheless, exercise need not be a chore, and it can actually become one of the parts of your day that you look forward to the most. You just need to find the right fitness activities for your lifestyle and interests.
If you haven't yet considered it, a regular hiking routine may be just what your exercise regimen is currently missing. Hiking provides a host of cardiovascular benefits as well as the opportunity to get out and see some of the most beautiful land in your area.
Here are three tips on hiking for heart health to get you started:
1. Keep a log
One of the easiest ways to falter in a hiking regimen, or in any exercise program for that matter, is simply to not keep track of your progress. Though it will certainly add a few moments to your workout, it's important that you take the time to record exactly what you've accomplished with each hike. This way, you'll be able to look back at which trails you hiked, compare your current pace to past paces, and note your fitness progress. You may also want to take some time to record any interesting wildlife sightings or experiences that you've had on a given hike so that you can reflect on them, or try to experience them again in the future.
2. Set specific goals
Whenever you begin any exercise regimen, it's crucial that you set specific goals for yourself. Very similar to the importance of keeping a log, setting specific goals allows you to gain an understanding of your progress as you become more and more involved in your hiking regimen. Further, it will serve as a tangible motivation that keeps you going on days when you don't feel like exercising. What fitness goals should you strive for when hiking? Think about where you want to take your overall health and then set your goals to lead you there. For example, GoodHiker.con reports that hiking can aid in reducing weight as it burns, on average, nearly 400 calories each hour. Set a weight-loss goal for yourself and see how long it takes you to begin making progress.
3. Consult your physician
As Backpacker.com indicates, it's essential that you consult with your physician before beginning to hike for heart health. Your doctor or cardiologist can help you know how much exercise is appropriate and how intense it should be. And they can educate you on whether the fitness activity may interact with your current medicine and treatment regimen. The odds are high that your doctor will encourage your ambition to become more active.