Tag: hiking

How Healthy is Hiking?

You know the saying “fresh air is good for you”? Well, it’s true. Getting outside in the great outdoors is good for your health, both mentally and physically. Your body will reap major benefits from hiking. Next time you’re going for a hike, remember how you’re doing your body good by taking your health to a new height.

 

Reduces Risk of Disease

 

Physical activity improves your overall health and quality of life. Therefore, hiking also improves your health. Hiking can lower your risk of diseases , like heart disease, strokes, anxiety, and diabetes. While you’re in the fresh air, you’re also doing your body a favor. Because hiking elevates your heart rate for the entire duration of your excursion, it keeps your heart healthy.

 

Tones Muscle

 

Like any other physical activity, hiking tones your muscles. Hiking is a weight-bearing activity that forces your muscles to push. The higher you go in elevation, the more your muscles work to get there. Hiking also strengthens your core, because your body attempts to balance as it climbs. It not only works your core, but your legs as well. For a full-body workout, you can also work your arms by using a walking stick or hiking poles.

 

Improves Sleep Quality

 

As you burn calories and engage in the fitness activity of hiking, you’re putting your body to work. When your body works hard, it makes it easier for your body to want sleep. This means that after hiking during the day, it will be easier to fall asleep at night. Getting a good night of sleep is good for your health because it not only improves your mood, but it helps you maintain your weight and heart as well.

 

Reduces Depression

 

Physical activity has been linked with boosting your mood. When you hike, your body is releasing “feel-good” endorphins that make you feel happy. Therefore, hiking has been found to reduce depression. The scenic views of hiking are a great bonus to getting physical activity, rather than surrounding yourself by the four walls of a gym. Through hiking, you can elevate your mood while you elevate your location.
Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy fresh air. While you’re taking the time to hike, you’re also taking time to benefit your body. Keeping your body in a healthy shape is key to maintaining a higher quality of life.

4 Destinations Every Hiker Should Visit

Hiking and the great outdoors is a major passion of mine. And while I typically tend to stick to North Carolina’s great outdoors, I am always open to other areas of interest. So, in the spirit of all things backpacking and hiking related, here are four destinations around the country that are sure to make any first time hiker get hooked.

Adirondack Mountains, New York

Typically whenever New York is mentioned, people assume the city is all that New York offers. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the United States’ 27th largest state, with over 54,000 square miles, New York has a wealth of gorgeous wilderness to explore. Located only four hours from New York City, the Adirondack Mountains features some of the state’s most gorgeous views and mountain ranges. Featuring a 6-million acre forest and hundreds of mountains (46 of which are taller than 4,000 feet), the Adirondack Mountains are sure to entice any and all hikers.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

This glorious mountain is only 50 miles away from Portland. The best way to experience the stratovolcano is to hike its 40-mile Timberline Trail. The trail winds up and down through Hood’s gorgeous alpine meadows. But if simply hiking around the mountain isn’t good enough, rest assured that you can climb to Hood’s peak. The 6.8 mile Hogsback Route allows hikers, both novices and experts alike, to climb to the mountain’s 11,000+ peak. There are a multitude of methods to enjoy this natural beauty, so choose the one that suits you and enjoy.

Roan Mountain, Tennessee/North Carolina

More of a series of five peaks and less of an actual mountain, Roan Mountain still has plenty to offer for hikers. Enjoy its many woods, rhododendron gardens and its grassy balds. The choice is yours. Roan Mountain is also home to some gorgeous wildlife, including wild horses.

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Exotic wildlife, historic forests and breathtaking meadows await anyone who visits this national park. Even with all of that, Rainier’s most prized possession has to be its 14,410-foot volcano. If you’re looking for something specific to do, as opposed to wandering aimlessly through its wildflower meadows, try hiking through the Sunrise Rim Trail. The 5.2-mile trail grants visitors amazing views of the North Cascades, the Tatoosh Range and Mt. Tahoma. Still not satisfied? Then opt for the somewhat longer 17-mile Mother Mountain loop. Either way you go, you are sure to fall in love with the park, ensuring multiple visits for years to come.

The United States is littered with thousands of breathtaking views, from thousands of parks, ranges and mountains. This is only a small taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. For a larger list of locations that are sure to whet your wilderness appetite, be sure to check out Backpacker.com. Hopefully this small list gives you an idea of where to go.

Best Hikes in Asheville, NC

Asheville, North Carolina, is the largest city in Western North Carolina, located in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains and at the confluence of the Swannanoa River. Though the city is widely known for its laid-back atmosphere, kind people, and artistic vibes, Asheville is also home to some of the best places to hike in North Carolina.

Whether you’re in Asheville for a visit, or you’re lucky enough to live there, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spend a day hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here’s a look as some of the best places to hike in Asheville:

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  1. Mt. Pisgah – A popular, 3 mile round-trip uphill climb, this hike may seem on the shorter side, but it is strenuous. Standing at 5,721 feet, you can see Mt. Pisgah from downtown Asheville on a clear day.
  2. Black Balsam Knob – This is a great hike if you want to experience some breathtaking views of North Carolina. It is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so hikes can last as long as you want them to.
  3. Fryingpan Tower – A quick, 1.5 mile hike at a moderate-level, great for setting aside some time to catch a beautiful view of the sunset along its historic fire tower. If you want an even shorter, 1-mile hike with equally beautiful views, try out Devil’s Courthouse.
  4. Richland Balsam – A 1.5 mile easy loop that takes you along the Blue Ridge Parkway through the shady forest trees. A great hike to try out if you have kids or dogs who need get tired on longer, steeper trails.
  5. Waterrock Knob – A difficult, 2.4 mile hike to the summit, which stands at 6,292 feet as the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern United States. You’ll have to pace yourself for this hike, but you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when it’s over – definitely worth it!

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For more information on where to hike, either in Asheville or other parts of North Carolina, check out EveryTrail, a website dedicated to hiking in North Carolina.