Even though we are moving out of summer into fall, the weather has been amazing! September is proving to be a gorgeous one, so don’t hesitate to enjoy it. The best way to really soak in your surroundings and to get some exercise is get out in nature and hike some local trails. Most people overlook hiking as a regular aerobic exercise and opt for the more cardio heavy forms of working out. However, hiking has many health benefits so get out there and hike those trails.
Hiking regularly over a period of time has many health benefits that include the following:
- Improves cardio-respiratory fitness. This means that your heart, lungs, and blood vessels will get stronger and benefit from hiking and all that fresh air.
- Hiking will improve your overall muscular fitness. Your legs and back become stronger due to using them to hike over all different kinds of terrain.
- Hiking can also help with weight control. Most people on average burn about 370 calories per hour when hiking. This will vary depending on certain factors but overall you can burn a lot when hiking.
- It also has been known to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.
- Being outside, enjoying fresh air and getting some exercise has been proven reduce your stress, anxiety and depression levels overall.
- Hiking can also boost bone density because walking is a weight bearing exercise.
In order to reap these benefits, one must be hiking at least 150-300 minutes per week. According to an article published by the Harvard Health, they say a person who weighs 155lbs burns about 223 calories per 30 minutes of hiking time. The great thing about hiking is that you can be at any weight or age to get started. Make sure to research each trail to check out the level of difficulty. If you are new to hiking, look for trails that are rated as easy. As you start hiking more and more, you can gradually begin to work your way up to moderate to difficult trails. Easy trails usually consist of even terrain with little to no inclines. The more difficult trails will have uneven terrain along with steep inclines. With all these benefits, there is really no reason to not spend time outdoors hiking.
Make sure to prepare yourself before your hike. Bring along a lot of water and some nutritious snacks to help keep your energy level up during the hike. Some hikes are long so bringing food along is a good idea. Most hikers use poles to help with stability and safety while hiking but using poles is a good way to help intensify your workout as well. Poles help by propelling your body forward and pushes your upper body muscles to work harder. Be safe out on the trails by hiking with a buddy especially if you are unfamiliar with the terrain or the area. A hiking buddy can also help out if you get injured. Another important aspect to safety is to know the trail before you go especially if you are new to hiking. Being in an unfamiliar area if something goes wrong will only make the situation worse.
Also you don’t have to go far to enjoy a good hike. Puyallup has a few trails that are perfect for an afternoon hike. Here is a list of a few good hikes in Puyallup and the surrounding area.
1. Puyallup River Walk East – This trail is a 3 mile trail located approximately 5 miles from the westerly city limit and ending at the East Main bridge behind Mama Stortini’s Restaurant. This trail follows along the Puyallup River and is accessible year round. The elevation gain is only 50 feet so this is a perfect trail for a beginner. You can bring your dog but they must be kept on a leash. The trail is shaded by trees and takes about an hour to walk depending on the pace.
2. Clark Creek Trail – This trail is a 4.2 mile trail that has an elevation gain of 213 ft. This trail also features a river and is a great trail for all skill levels. This is another trail that allows dogs but once again they must be kept on leash. This trail, like the Puyallup River Walk, is also accessible year round. The trail is part of Clark’s Creek Park. The park also includes tennis courts, playgrounds, a softball field, picnic areas and dog parks. The park entrance is on 7th Ave. SW and18th St SW.
3. Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail – This trail is a 2.2 mile trail that takes about an 1 hour to hike. The elevation is about 913 ft. This is heavily used trail so make sure to use proper trail etiquette when hiking. This is another year round trail that allows dogs on leash. This trail has wide cement paths that help to accommodate all the heavy traffic. This trail was also named in honor of Sgt. Nathan Chapman who was a South Hill resident. Access to the trail is at 86th Avenue east and 144th Street East in South Hill Puyallup.
4. Foothills Trail – This trail is about 4 miles that has an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. The Foothills trail is actually a 30-mile collection of six unconnected segments of the old Burlington Northern Railway and the Puyallup to South Prairie section is the most popular section of the whole trail. This is a great trail to ride bikes on because it is a longer, wider trail. Dogs are allowed on leashes. This trailhead is located on the right directly after the cement bridge at the confluence of the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers.
Make sure to get out there while the weather is still good and enjoy some of these lovely local trails. It’s a great way to get some exercise and spend time with the family.