(Where to) Hike for Health and Happiness in the PNW

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Jul 20

Ali Schoos

(Where to) Hike for Health and Happiness in the PNW

Posted by Ali Schoos

The proven benefits of walking daily have mounted to the point that it should be considered the new elixir for what ails you!  We know that regular walking provides many health benefits:

*Enhances heart and lung efficiency, reducing the chance of cardiovascular disease as well as lowers blood pressure.  

*Helps to burn body fat and raise metabolism, countering obesity. When you become a regular walker, you will burn more calories even when you are just standing around!

*Walking strengthens your bones.

*Helps control and prevent diabetes.

Reduces your risk of some forms of cancer including colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer.

Walking improves mental alertness and memory, and may prevent dementia. Wow, why aren’t we all walking 20-30 min every day??
 

What if you could make walking FUN?  That’s the ticket to success!  And that’s where HIKING comes in!  Hiking is just walking with a destination in mind.  Simply put together a small pack with some healthy snacks, a water bottle, some sunscreen and a hat, and a mini first aid kit. Take trekking poles if your hips and knees twinge a bit.  Explore some of the many beautiful places right here in our own Pacific Northwest backyard!  A hike doesn’t have to mean a trek up a big hill – although it CAN mean that too.  Hiking is for all ages and abilities.  Start where you’re comfortable, and set a goal to hike on a regular basis this summer. Mix up where you go, and soon you will find yourself also mixing up the terrain!  Not only will you get healthier, elevate your mood, and improve one or more of your health issues — you will also get to ENJOY doing it, and get to know the beautiful area we call home!

How to get started:

Bellevue Botanical Gardens – You can start easy and lovely, 1-2 miles enjoying the beautiful flora and fauna.

Mercer Slough Nature Park – Stroll through the 320-acre wetland populated with ferns, shrubs, flowers, distinctive wooden boardwalks and shaded pathways.

Coal Creek Trail – Hike through urban woods that is perfect for families as well as avid hikers.

Phantom Lake – This trail provides expansive views across the lake from both the western end and eastern end.

Cougar Mountain – This park offers access to a network of trails, you can pick a variety of distance and elevation, exploring fun caves and waterfalls along the way.

Squak Mountain – This forested park offers a variety of trails and views of Issaquah below.

Tiger Mountain – This park offers a wide variety of trails and is usable year-round.

When you are ready for more of a challenge:

Poo Poo Point – Located near Issaquah, offers a more heart pounding climb in just under 4 miles.  Reward yourself by watching the paragliders jump off the top and float around!

Teneriffe Falls - A lovely cool 6 mile/1400’ elevation gain hike in the woods with a spectacular seat by the falls for lunch.

Rattlesnake Ledge - Moderate hike of 4 miles/1160’ elevation, with great views to the east and a lake at the bottom to cool your feet in.

Mount Si – One of the most popular hikes in the state. This is a more challenging option at 8 miles and 3150’ elevation gain, but rewards you with beautiful views.

Mailbox Peak – One of the iconic Cascade Hikes that will challenge you given the 4000’ elevation gain.

If you WANT to start hiking, and pain is stopping you, consider seeing a physical therapist, to help you get in shape to GET OUTSIDE and enjoy your life, while getting healthier!

For additional info on the brain boost from hiking, check out one of our other blogs here:
http://www.peaksportsandspinept.com/blog/news/events/hiking-can-actually-change-our-brains



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