31, March 2016

Why Hiking Is Better than a Treadmill

Everyone knows that walking is a great exercise for you. It doesn’t require a lot of training before you can do it, and it uses the muscles that you use every day to get around. However, one question always comes to mind when people are wondering how and where to work on their walking muscles: outside, in nature, or inside, on the treadmill? While there are diehard supporters of both camps, this is one area where all the gyms in the world just can’t compete with what nature gives you for free. Take a look at the ways that hiking exceeds expectations.

Measure Your Accomplishments in Real Time

Real time feedback brings a sense of real accomplishment

Real time feedback brings a sense of real accomplishment

When you’re running on a treadmill you have to get to the end of your program to see how you did. When you’re jogging down a trail or hiking in person you can see second by second how you’re doing, or try to time yourself between mile posts on the trail. It’s nice to get off the treadmill to see that you ran 4 miles in an hour, but it’s even better to find yourself rounding the corner on your trail and realizing that you made it all the way back to the start sooner than you thought that you would. This kind of feedback is essential to cultivating a sense of real accomplishment.

Enjoy Nature

You'll be able to connect with nature

You’ll be able to connect with nature

Don’t underestimate the power of nature in getting you and keeping you motivated. There are a lot of ways in which a good breeze in the face can do more for your finished time than all the cheerleaders in the gym in the world. Nature is also good for you in other ways; you’ll be out in the fresh air, really working to cover ground. You’ll be able to feel grass underfoot, and really connect with nature. A lot of people find running through a park to be a meditative, almost spiritual experience. It’s been scientifically proven that having regular contact with natural space makes people healthier and happier, so you can take an opportunity every week or so to go out and really get into the whole nature side of a hike.

Do It with Friends

iapxud6nRunning on treadmills with your friends is honestly no fun. You can all be there together and each one of you is still going to be separated out and lost in their own little world. That’s a little bit how it is anyway; there are people who will always get into their own heads when they’re pushing their bodies to the limits, and that’s okay. That’s not really what we’re talking about here. When you’re on the trail you’re working together to not leave anyone behind, and you’re making sure that everyone can take the paths you’re going through. This team spirit can bolster your run results easily.

More Naturally Varied Terrain

You can program a treadmill to have “hills” and valleys, but the ease at which you run is not going to be good enough to mimic the actual perks of actually varied terrain. When you’re hitting the mountain side you have to deal with steepness that varies by stride. This is totally different than the smooth progression of a treadmill.