Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
21 Jun 2018
11:48 am

Hike your way to better health

Citizen Reporter

Earn points while monitoring your steps and working your way to becoming a better you.

Hiking. Picture: Supplied

Hiking comes with the perks of fresh air, magnificent views, natural surrounds and health benefits.

Many medical aids are committed to motivating their members to be more active by offering a range of incentives and benefits. With this in mind, hiking is a great way to get your points up as your steps are tracked.

Not only is hiking a good physical exercise, it also clears your head. But, as with any new activity, there are some precautions you need to consider before you get going:

Physical health: Hikes that are longer and more difficult will require a certain level of physical fitness and health, so it is important to make sure to choose a distance that you can finish.

Hiking. Picture: Supplied

You can also build up to the more challenging trails by doing the following:

Stretching: This warms up the muscles for the adventure. Stretching will help you perform your best and reach your hiking goals.

Cardio: Concentrate on cardiovascular exercise that mainly targets the lower body since the legs are used predominantly on a hike. Walking, cycling, jogging and running are good options that will provide a cardiovascular workout and strengthen the muscles that you’ll be using on your hike. If you can’t get outdoors or to the gym, there are some cardio exercises you can do at home. These include jumping-jacks and leg-raises.

Weight lifting: This will help build your lower and upper body and is useful if you will be carrying a backpack with food and other essentials on long or overnight hikes. You can do squats and lunges with weights as these exercises will also help develop endurance.

Picture: iStock

Chronic medication

If you are on any chronic medication, make sure to take it with you when you go hiking. It’s a long way up those mountains and the last thing you want is to have an asthma attack while you don’t have your asthma pump with you.

The reality is that even at a secure site, if you have a medical issue while on a hike, it might take a while for a rescue team to get to you. So it’s essential to have your chronic medication with you in case of an emergency.

First aid kit

One should never embark on a hike without a first aid kit. It should cover even small medical emergencies you may face while hiking, such as cuts, bruises, muscle cramps, bites and dizziness.

Picture: iStock

Medical aid

Make sure that you are covered by your medical aid for your treks. Some people end up passing out or fainting due to different health issues. Depending on how far along you are on the hike, it could take hours for help to come your way.

Weight

Weight has a direct impact on hiking as the more you weigh, the harder it is for you to do long hikes. Short hikes are best if you’re overweight but like being adventurous, and you can earn points while monitoring your steps and working your way to becoming a better you.

To start your hiking journey, Rustig in Magaliesburg is offering guests a 40% discount on accommodation throughout winter (June to August). State you’re booking for the winter special. Visit www.rustig.co.za

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