Now that spring has sprung, how about pulling out some hiking gear and hitting a trail? Hiking can help build leg strength, stability, and provide a cardio workout if you keep a stiff pace. There are several low-key places to hike that are less than an hour away from HealthSPORT’s gyms. While the national parks are stunning, nearby state parks can get you off the beaten path and into a habitat where you can find your hiking groove.
Hitting the Trails Provides Many Benefits!
1)Mix It Up!
Walking on differing terrain and on inclines and declines gives your muscles and bones the stimulation they need to grow, and challenges balance and agility.
2) It’s Good for Your Head.
Exercising outdoors boosts mood. In addition, walking outdoors has been shown in some studies to enhance memory.
3) It’s Good for Your Heart.
Hiking is a good cardiovascular workout. Pair that with walking uphill or into the wind and you have the makings of a low impact INTENSE cardio bout!
4) You Impact More Than Just You!
Supporting your state parks and other outdoor recreational facilities helps support conservation and clean air efforts. What is healthy for the environment is, ultimately, healthy for you.
Lace up your sturdy shoes, put on some layers (because it’s California and the weather in the forest can be unpredictable at times), stuff a snack or two in your pockets and get out the door to start to explore!
If you haven’t discovered it yet, it’s time to venture out to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California’s third largest park, featuring nearly 53,000 acres and more than 100 miles of trails. Not only can you walk among the redwoods and Douglas fir trees, but you can also explore the South Fork of the Eel River. Previous hikers have done the groundwork for you and reviewed and ranked the park’s trails. Check out the rankings before you go to find a suitable distance, terrain type, and photos of the views you might see.
Also relatively close and oriented to locals is Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. While there are only five miles of trails through this park, you can enjoy the shade of majestic trees, fern-lined paths and the sound and sight of the Van Duzen River. The quiet setting also makes it likely you’ll spy some wildlife.
If you’re up for a slightly longer drive, pack a picnic and check out Richardson Grove State Park. This low-key park features river and redwood views within its 1,800 acres. The hikes can be on the short side, but can still be challenging if you’re willing to tackle some hills.
Keep in mind that you live in a GORGEOUS place and a hiking in any form, anywhere, is good for you. If you don’t want to drive, you can still thrive by getting out of your home and hoofing it to soak in the spring air. Hiking, whether in the woods or through an urban landscape, can boost your mood and make you stronger.