Losing body fat and keeping it off long term requires more than just tough metabolic process taxing workouts (fat burning workouts). I’ve found that a very important component in fitness and the fat loss process is active rest. For those of you that have done the 12 Day Fat X Program, you know that day 9 features an active rest activity. Active rest is a lower intensity activity or workout that’s less intense, but longer in duration. There’s many benefits to active rest. Hiking is one of my favorite active rest activities and when I personally put someone through the Fat X Program, I take them on a hike on day 9 or workout 9. In this post, I’ll go over the benefits of active rest, and 3 important reasons why I like hiking and how it’s a great compliment to a fat burning workout plan.
Active rest is important as you get the benefit of burning calories while giving your muscles, tendons, joints and CNS (central nervous system) a break from high intensity workouts. My workouts are generally designed to highly tax your metabolic processes. These type of workouts have been proven to effectively and efficiently raise your fitness level and fire up your metabolism. But, you do need to give your muscles, tendons, joints, and CNS a break. Sitting around doing nothing is one way, but, a better way is an activity that can compliment those tough workouts. Hiking is one of those activities. Let’s go over why it’s a great addition to a fat burning workout plan.
One, hiking get’s you outdoors and exposes you to the benefits of sunshine. Sunshine is an easy way to get Vitamin D. Vitamin D has several benefits. In this Web MD article, it mentions the major benefits which include lowering the chances of heart attack, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The article also mentions a study by Boston University where participants with high blood pressure normalized it within three months.
Two, hiking connects us with nature. There’s something about getting back to our natural way of being that does a lot to alleviate stress. We’re just not meant to go from box to box. Our home is one box. In the morning, we get into a box with wheels and head to another box (work/office). When you look at it that way, you can see that it’s just not natural. It’s highly confining and its’ no surprise that many suffer from stress and anxiety. Going outdoors can break that confinement. I’ve had many people tell me that hiking has helped them with stress and anxiety.
Three, on longer, more advanced hikes, you can quickly see the importance of quality fuel/food and being physically prepared. A few months ago, my cousin invited me to go on a Mt. Whitney hike. Without thinking much about it, I quickly agreed. I didn’t realize that Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contagious United States at an elevation of 14,505 feet! I knew I would have to prepared.
Fear is a great motivator!
Once I agreed, there was no way I was going to back out. So, the challenge helped me focus on my training. It also helped me tighten up my diet. When going on a hike like this and attempting to summit, every single pound makes a huge difference. Elevation, and elevation sickness is no joke. I already knew that not only did I have to carry my own weight, but a pack with gear and supplies that would include my camera equipment. I didn’t want to carry any excess body weight along with that. Taking on and preparing for the challenge helped my lose 5 lbs of body fat.
We headed up the mountain Friday, June 9. Here’s a video of my Mt. Whitney experience.
Just to recap, hiking can expose you to the health benefits of Vitamin D. Those health benefits can indirectly help your fat loss goals. Hiking connects you with nature and can help you with stress and anxiety. Having a healthy mental state is crucial in long term fat loss success. And, lastly, the challenge of a more difficult hike can help you focus on getting physically prepared, and can help you develop better eating habits. Both, will help you lose excess body fat.
By the way, as you can see in the video, we didn’t summit Mt. Whitney. Nonetheless I had a great experience. If you take up hiking, make sure that you always keep safety in mind. Start with short treks, and then build up. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You can comment below with a Disqus account, or you can contact me via: