5.5 million visitors came to hike in New South Wales alone in 2017, making bushwalking one of the most popular holiday activities in Australia. Australia is full of amazing hiking trails and destinations where you can take a leisurely stroll, a brisk walk or even a challenging trek up a steep incline. Walking is considered by many health professionals as one of the easiest forms of exercise there is. However, undertaking a challenging hike will require a proper workout plan as well as a good diet plan. Consistent bushwalking coupled with proper nutrition may be the key to losing stubborn weight and keeping it off. If you are to undertake in bushwalking, then you need to have a workout plan that will help you on your trek.
The Beauty of Bushwalking
Bushwalking can be counted as one of the natural remedies for the weariness of our time. Exercise in itself is greatly beneficial but nature-based exercise is doubly so. Bushwalking may be credited with rapid recovery from illness, reduced anxiety and depression and less stress. A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a simple 90-minute walk through nature reduces rumination and lowers the risk of mental illness. Even if you happen to find yourself outside the abundant nature trails of Australia, there still exists a number of beautiful destinations including grand forests to hike through. A good hike that will get your blood pumping should be undertaken uphill, with preference in hilly and mountainous areas. To step up to this challenge, it is imperative to work the muscles in the body which will be under the greatest stress while walking uphill: these are the leg muscles.
Weighted Glute Bridge on a Bench
A good workout that targets your butt as well as hamstrings – which together form the big leg muscles responsible for providing power into a hiker’s stride – is the weighted glute bridge. You will need a barbell for this exercise but if you don’t have one, you can use a medicine ball or a bag of flour provided it is held correctly. You need to position your feet flat on the floor throughout this exercise.
Hold the weight between your arms and make sure to squeeze your buttocks at the top of the motion. Hold the position for a few seconds before lowering your butt between reps. It is important to keep the overall weight light and try and focus on achieving an explosive hip-thrust on the way up, squeeze in the middle and follow it with an easy release. You should do at least 10-15 reps per set for the best results.
Lunges have been heralded across the ages as an efficient exercise for legs. Downhill lunges are effective in working out your quad muscles. These lunges will help prepare your muscles for a steep descent. Usually, hikers find that it is the downhill descent that leads to sore thighs. To practice your lunges, find a gradual downhill that will be easy to navigate. Keep your upper body straight and keep your shoulders back. Engage your core muscles and step one step forward using one leg, and lower your hips so your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your weight in your heels and step forward with your back leg so that you finish with your two feet together. Repeat for 15 reps a set on alternating legs.
Bushwalking is one of the best activities you can engage in for your health. These exercises will make it a bit easier to rise to any hiking challenge.
This article was written by Jane Munro a health enthusiast and freelance writer.