Sometimes, you just gotta take a hike.

Lifting weights and higher intensity circuit training, both of which we do at our gym, are our top two most efficient vehicles for increasing fitness and looking, moving, and feeling (even more) awesome.

Both of these modes of exercise increase lean muscle mass, strengthen your heart, help you do everyday life activities more easily, and keep your metabolism zinging.

To complement these methods of movement, we recommend slow walking.

Studies show slow walking, especially in nature (hiking), has a profound influence on muscular endurance, bone health and brain function, impacting our ability to stress less and achieve better overall mental health.

In a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, participants were asked to walk for 90 minutes in either a natural or urban setting. Researchers determined that, compared to those in urban environments, people who walked in the natural setting had lower levels of repetitive negative self-thought—or rumination—and a decreased level of activity in the prefrontal cortex (a part of the brain linked to mental illness, anxiety, and stress).*

A recent poll on our Instagram and Facebook pages show some favorite places to hike in West Michigan are:

  • Riley Trails
  • Rosy Mound
  • Saugatuck Dunes
  • Mt. Pisgah
  • Provin Trails
  • Rabbit River Trails

What would you add to this list? Email us here!

You’ll see Coach Mike take regular walks from the gym to the post office, grocery store, or other errand and they’ve become a favorite part of his weekly rhythm.

And while I still enjoy walking in a winter wonderland and breathing in the crisp cool air, when I can’t get outside, my favorite activity is simply walking up and down my stairs for 21 minutes (check out our #Move21in2021 videos with WZZM13!). I can even stream a show or podcast and not even realize I’m exercising.

So, this week, find the “Stress Less” magic in slow walking or hiking. Start with a few minutes around your neighborhood and work up to a lovely hike soaking in the sights, sounds, smells and feels of nature. It will do your body (and mind) GOOD!


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