By now the snow has melted from the mountaintops, which means only one thing…it’s time to go hiking! Climbing to new heights is a workout in itself. But when you want to dial up the calorie-torching benefits, you need to add a few “exercise enhancements,” as I like to call them.
Do one or all of these enhancements to burn more calories on your hiking trip:
– Add weight to your walk by carrying a CamelBak filled with plain water. It will add a few pounds (pounds = resistance) and keep you hydrated along the way.
– On flat terrain, pick up the pace to a slow jog. If the elevation has you out of breath, start by alternating 30 seconds at a jog and 2 minutes of walking.
– On the steep hills, take deep, long strides (almost a lunge) to engage your entire glute area.
– Find a fallen log and perform 2 sets of 15-20 jumps over the log. The first set you jump forward. On the second set, jump left to right.
– If there is a bench or steady boulder, try sit-stands. Stand about 2 feet in front of the bench or boulder and squat until your bum just taps the surface. Be sure you’re squatting with your knees at right angles and your bum pushed back. Your knees should not go past your toes. Do 3 sets of 12.
– Every 10 minutes or so, lean on a tree with both hands firmly planted up against it. Angle your body away from the tree and do 3 sets of 12 push-ups. For more of a challenge, find a lower surface or bench.
No hiking trip is complete without a bag of trail mix. You can make your own or find a healthy pre-made variety. I love the combination of coconut and almonds. The protein from the nuts keeps me going, and the coconut just has a nice flavor. That’s why I also carry coconut water with me on all-day excursions. Plus, it’s naturally rich in electrolytes and has more potassium than a banana!
Once you make it to the top of the mountain, stretch out, take a few deep breaths and enjoy the view!
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an international fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tip videos exclusively on the Vitacost Live Wire.