Take to the Hills for Cardio

by Mackenzie M. | June 13th, 2013 | Cardio, Outdoor

hillLast week, a friend and I decided to head to the nearest state park with varying terrains for a day of walking. This terrain ranged from steep moraines to low valleys. Simply walking up and down the large rises and falls proved to be an intense cardio workout that neither of us had planned for. However, this proved that walking up and down hills are a great way to get a cardio workout and improve heart health. Below are some of the benefits of getting outdoors and walking the hills.

Weight Loss. Not only will walking hills help build leg muscles, it will also help to ensure heart health. Cardio workouts are a sure fire way to shed unwanted fat and extra pounds. By definition, cardio workouts get the blood pumping and the heart working. This will promote weight loss in the athlete. In fact, hill walking is proven to burn far more calories over time than simply walking on a flat surface. There is a correlation between the amount of hill walking and the amount of calories burned over time.

No Harm. Unlike running or biking, hill walking does not put nearly as much strain on the knees or feet. While this stress on the knees and feet may not be immediately present in runners, over time, running can actually damage the knees and stress the feet. Hill walking will still give the same great cardio benefits in a workout, but without the excess strain on joints. This is especially helpful for older athletes who may require a gentler way to complete their cardio exercises. Over time, your knees and calves will grow stronger and stronger, making hill walking effortless.

Accessibility. The great thing about hill walking, is that the only required supplies are athletic shoes and a big hill. While some cities do no have hills in their topography, nearly every major city has a park or area that is home to a few hills (of any size). The hills do not need to be towering in order to get the full benefits. In fact, even walking up and down low hills will provide a great cardio workout. Whether it is in a park, or on urban hills, the workout is absolutely free and only requires a little bit of motivation as payment.

Feel the Burn. Hill walking goes far beyond a simple cardio exercise. For a few days after a workout, one will feel the burn in unexpected places. For example, hill walking is a wonderful workout for the glute muscles and for the thigh muscles. In fact, even back muscles will get a workout as a result of the many different muscles that hill walking utilizes.

Try out hill walking soon for a fun, free, and easy way to work out outdoors!

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.