Along with running, lifting weights, yoga, kick boxing, and bike riding, walking is one of the activities that comprise our [that being me and the wife] workout regimen, our way of staying physically fit. Our walks typically mean walking the dogs. While we have gone hiking on multiple occasions in the past, it is not something that was part of our regular regimen. Recently we decided to change that. The benefits of walking?
There are quite a few, but my top three are low impact, improvement to metabolic rate, and improved blood flow.
Perhaps the most significant reason we have turned to walking more is because this low to moderate impact activity is easier on the joints and bones – your hips and knees being the primary beneficiaries – than higher impact activities such as running.
Walking helps to increase your resting metabolic rate. This helps to burn off extra calories and increases your metabolism which means you will burn more calories whatever activity you’re engaged in.
The circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to your cells and is used to filter out waste and carbon dioxide from your body. A good walk improves blood flow which helps the body function better. Also, they say a good walk after eating is a great way to improve digestion.
Our first hike as part of the new regimen took place not too long ago, right in our own backyard. Southeastern Arizona sits at an ecological crossroads, where the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. It’s a beautiful area. Within this unique geographic area lies the Ramsey Canyon Preserve.
Although located in the desert Southwest, its northeast orientation, high canyon walls, and spring-fed stream provide Ramsey Canyon with a moist, cool environment that is perfect for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. On a recent Sunday morning, the wife and I, along with a friend, took advantage of one of the trails, the Hamburg Trail, leading out of the Preserve.
Soon after hitting the trail, we gained elevation quickly via a quick series of switchbacks. The trail wound around for a little while before leveling out and dropping down to the canyon wash. On the day we hiked, there was plenty of running water. Really a treat for all the senses.
Seven miles and four hours later our Sunday morning journey was over. The walk and the fresh air felt great. Stay fit, my friends!