Go Take a Hike

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A soft, chilly breeze and the vibrant colors of fall lend a new meaning to the term “go take a hike.” With fall rolling in there is no more beautiful time than the present to stretch your legs along a sun-soaked path, walking amongst the birds, trees, rocks, and gravel. Hiking can be a rigorous escape into nature meanwhile disguising the best total body workout you will ever feel. Between climbing, working through unstable surfaces and using your core and upper body to keep you moving through the rough patches, this workout can be as good as a day in the gym. Here are a few tips before you get started:


  • Get warm! And we’re not talking about outfitting for the season—although that is important—we are talking about warming up those muscles before you start a grueling hiking session. Just like when you workout in a gym, prepare your body by performing some active exercises to work out knots and tightness and add in some flexibility on areas that might hinder your ability to climb and use your muscles effectively. 
  • Get fired up! Once you have statically stretched tight areas—get ready for the hike by getting your heart rate up and break a small sweat. This way, you can tackle those mountains with a vengeance! Perform a dynamic stretching routine that will get your muscles firing and raring to go. Perform one set of ten repetitions for each exercise unless otherwise noted.
  • Get going! Your muscles are warm, your heart is pumping, and your mind is set, so get out there and tackle that terrain! As you travel through the mountains, take your time moving up and down hills, remembering to pull in your abdominals to keep your body steady, and get the most out of the workout by squeezing your glutes as you climb. Watch where you place your feet and what position your feet and knees are in as you walk up and down onto rocks and ledges. Keep both your feet pointed straight ahead and your knees lined up with your toes to help avoid any twists and turns that could stop you in your tracks.


While you are out meandering through nature, think about this, the average 150-pound female can burn up to 400 to 530 calories during a sixty-minute hike. So when you are tired of the same old gym routine, venture out into the hills, mountains, and tough terrain and get an amazing workout that won’t even feel like a workout! 


As you get ready to “go take a hike,” check out some of these areas across the country that can get your heart rate pumping and your inspiration jumping! Happy Hiking!


Top Ten Hiking Areas Across the Country
Ranked by Thoos.com


1. Carleton College Arboretum—Northfield, MN
Ranked by Runner’s magazine as one of the top ten trails in the U.S., the Cowling Arboretum boasts an extensive 15-mile trail system.
Difficulty: Ranked 3 out of 10 (10 being the hardest) 


2. Deadman’s Pass Loop—Sedona, AZ
This trail runs about 1.4 miles at an elevation of 5120 feet. This trail acts as a connector to two other trails, Long Canyon Trail and Boynton Canyon Trail.
Difficulty: Ranked 4 out 10 


3. Hau’ula Loop Trail—Oahu, HI
Located in Oahu, this trail has magnificent views that last as long as the trail, about 2.5 miles.
Difficulty: Ranked 3 out of 10

4. Green Mountain Trail—Denver, CO
This 6.4-mile trail is sure to challenge the avid hiker with steep terrain and breathtaking views of downtown Denver and the Rockies.
Difficulty: Ranked 5 out of 10 


5. Jones Gap Trail—Marietta, SC
This out-and-back trail has gradual inclines, waterfalls (a short side-trip off the trail) and 5.3 miles of beautiful colored leaves in the fall.
Difficulty: ranked 6 out of 10 


6. Mount Si—North Bend, WA
This trail will give your lungs and your legs a workout! This 8-mile round trip is not for the light-hearted as elevation runs up to 3100 feet and views that are sure to take what’s left of your breath away.
Difficulty: Ranked 6 out of 10 


7. Conewago Trail—Middletown, PA
Canopy of trees, rolling meadows, a babbling creek—what more could you ask for? This 5-mile jaunt can be linked up with another trail or you can double your fun and circle back to the start logging 10 great miles.
Difficulty: Ranked 2 out of 10 


8. Cranberry Lake Loop—Cranberry Lake, NY
Flatter than other trails, this hike can lead you many more places than others thanks to the large trail system. In addition, waterfalls are just a short hop, skip, and jump off the main trail, but well worth the 15-mile workout.
Difficulty: Ranked 5 out of 10 


9. Virginia Creeper Trail—Abingdon, VA
Take a leap back in time as you traverse this rugged trail. Once the home of a Native American footpath and mountain railroad, there are several trestles and bridges as well as a 7 percent grade along the 33.4 mile hike. We don’t expect you to go all the way!
Difficulty: Ranked 3 out of 10 


10. Stone Door Loop—BeerSheba Springs, TN
The term, “rugged gorge” shouldn’t stop you from taking this hike. The trail system lasts about 10.6 miles and even affords you an opportunity to take a dip in the swimming hole!
Difficulty: Ranked 6 out of 10

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