Guided Trail Home | Locations | Geology | Vegetation | Wildlife | Wellness | Photography Tips
Hydration | Sun Protection | Exercise | Clothing
The Benefits of Exercise
Stronger Muscles: Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles. When your muscles are stronger, work feels easier. The strength of the leg muscles, known as the quadriceps, is one of the biggest predictors of how long you are going to live. Stronger legs equals a longer life. Stronger muscles help with balance, lifting and carrying, and all of the activities that you do throughout your day.
Improved Bone Health: Early in life, regular exercise can help you build strong bones, and later in life it can slow the loss of bone density.
A More Efficient Heart: Exercise strengthens your heart and improves circulation. The increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in your body, and can help you feel more energetic. Cardiovascular exercise improves the health of your blood vessels, which helps to lower your risk of heart diseases. Regular exercise can also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Control Your Weight: Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. Consistent exercise has been shown to improve mental health by releasing hormones that help you feel good, such as serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. Regular exercise can have a profound positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a significant difference.
Keep Your Brain Skills Sharp: Exercise stimulates your body to release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain. Studies show that even short periods of physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can reduce the urge to smoke. Also, exercise helps limit weight gain that is natural when quitting smoking.
Ways to Exercise on the Trail
Walking: Brisk walks can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. The trail is an ideal environment for walking recreationally or for specific cardiovascular exercise.
- You can use the trail for a casual walk with a friend.
- Consider improving your health at work by taking a walking business meeting.
- Use the trail for purposeful walking exercise.
Running: A more intense level of exercise, running can be done at various speeds. Start with the speed and pace that feels comfortable to you. If running is new to you, consider combining walking and running in equal increments.
Challenge Yourself: Adding interval training to your walk or run is a great way to challenge yourself. For example, try walking for 1 minute, then switch to running for 1 minute and continue the pattern until you reach the point of fatigue. Take as many rest periods as you need. As you increase your cardiovascular fitness, you will be able to spend more of your exercise running, and less of your time walking. If you are a consistent runner, try changing the speed from an easy pace, to a challenging or racing pace every 30 seconds. It will help you to challenge different energy systems in your body and increase your fitness level.
Biking: Biking, or cycling, is not only a great mode of transportation, but is a wonderful source of exercise. Much like running, biking can be done at different difficulty levels. Before heading out on the trail, make sure that your brakes are fully functional and wear a helmet for safety.
Skateboarding: Skateboarding is a good source of exercise, it is especially helpful to improve balance. The trail is a great place for skateboarding due to the smooth surface.
As a Family: Exercising as a family is not only a wonderful way to bond with your family, but it also teaches children the importance of regular exercise. The trail is fun and inexpensive, and available at all times of the day.
With a Pet: Exercise is important for you and your pet alike, to stay active and healthy. Check the pavement for heat before taking your dog on a walk. Place your hand or a bare foot on the surface for 10 seconds. If it is too hot for you to keep your hand or foot on it, then it is too hot for your pet. Pets on the trail must ALWAYS stay on a leash, and please be considerate to others and clean up after your pets.