A mountain vacation not only makes a wonderful holiday because of the scenery, but it’s also one of the healthiest vacations that you can take. Mountain activities are typically physically challenging, intense and make for a great work out. There are at least five mountain exercises that are ideal for burning calories, getting a health boost and even clearing your mind. Consider these five activities and how they can better your health.
Cycling is more fun and far more exciting than taking a car tour around a mountaintop. It also makes for low impact exercise, appropriate for all ages, and unlikely to cause straining or injury. It has also been known to provide a good muscle workout, using all major muscle groups. Cycling also builds strength and stamina, giving you an excellent aerobic workout. This activity can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, decrease body fat, and help to prevent heart disease.
You may think of skiing as a more recreational activity than a healthy exercise regimen, but research shows skiing on a regular basis, such as at a mountain top, can provide an excellent physical and mental challenge. This proprioceptive exercise allows you to improve positioning and posture, coordination and balance, and feel how each body part moves in relation to the other. It’s actually a great activity for memory since your proprioception weakens naturally as you age; therefore, keeping active in these types of challenges is a great health booster.
Rock climbing has the reputation of being intense and more than a little dangerous, but if you stay on lower mountains and follow directions as to securing your footing, you should be okay. Mount Everest is not recommended! That said, this is a great way to build endurance, improve strength building and cardio workout, and even boost your brain function. In fact, in order to rock climb efficiently, you must work on upper body strength, lower body strength and lean muscle building in advance. The climbing is a test of the muscles and endurance you already build. In addition to getting your heart pumping and burning over 700 calories a day, you can also boost your brain function by learning body awareness and problem solving skills. People who enjoy rock climbing enjoy boosts of creativity, memory and even reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
Hiking is one of the best ways to exercise, as it is not only fun to do, but also low impact exercising, when compared to more vigorous strength-training regimens. Even though hiking feels like terrain walking, it is a weight-bearing exercise, meaning it does wonders for preventing osteoporosis, while the aerobic workout it gives you by going up and down hills is good for improving your heart. It can manage your weight and decrease the possibility of type 2 diabetes. Getting out in the sun gives your body a good dose of vitamin D which improves the strength of your bones.
Fitness enthusiast and founder of Mountain Air Cabin Rentals in Gatlinburg, TN said, “Hiking is how I’ve stayed in shape during the past five years. Not only does a beautiful scenic view beat the treadmill any day of the week, but it’s also good for sense of mind and heart health.”
It’s loads of fun to go horseback riding and you may be surprised to know that it’s also great for your health. Physically, it is an isometric exercise that helps you build core strength, muscle tone and flexibility (and particularly the inner thighs and pelvic muscles), as well as the muscles you build while working in a stable. It also provides a great mental workout, speaking of improvement in body awareness, coordination and an almost meditative approach to distressing. Lastly, riding such a large animal is a full-body workout that even forces you to use muscles you don’t ordinarily use, just so you’ll adjust more naturally to the form of the horse.
As you can see, mountain activities and sports are a great way to exercise and improve your mental faculties. If you’re in the United States, there are plethora of mountain ranges to choose from (our recommendation – the Smoky Mountains!) depending on your unique preferences.