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Peak Physical Therapy
Helping you every step of the way


 Spring Has Sprung, Enjoy The Benifits of Hiking!

 Even though the grass isn't quite green, and the birds are just starting to sing, Spring is here!  Longer days, melted snow and warmer weather are all reasons why Spring is the perfect time to start exercising.  Thanks to the change in weather, where you exercise doesn't have to be limited to a gym or the sidewalks.


In this edition of our newsletter, we will be discussing the benifits of hiking, and provide some helpful tips to get started on a new fintess adventure!

Hiking is an excellent way to break up a monotonous exercise routine and escape the stress of daily life.  Also, regular exercise has been shown to improve your health and increase the quality and longevity of life!

The Benifits of Hiking

Weight Loss - Walking is considered one of the simplest ways to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, if you weigh 200 pounds and hike at a comfortable 2 mph (3.2 km/h) pace for one hour you can burn 312 calories [3].  Add some wrist weights to burn even more!

Improve Your Cholesterol Levels - Adding hiking to your weekly routine can help you reduce the risk of heart disease.  Physical activity increases the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol in your blood [4] and lowers the low-density lipoprotien (LDL) (the type that clogs your blood vessles).  A longer hike will produced even more HDL, so aim for a heart-healty distance! 

Lower Your Blood Pressure - Hiking helps open up the arteries, which lowers blood pressure and takes stress off your heart. In one clinical study, walking three times a week for 30 minutes was enough to significantly reduce participants' blood pressure levels [5]. 

Reduce Stress - The sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health!  A recent study has shown that walking for 40 minutes can immediately decrease levels of tension and anxiety, no matter how quick or slow the pace [6].

Lower Your Risk of Cancer - Hiking outdoors in the sunshine will increase your vitamin D levels. Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to help prevent many types of cancer, including colorectal cancer [7]. However, it is still recommended to use sun block or sun screen to lower the risk of skin cancer.  

 Helpful Tips

Hiking in the great outdoors can bring a sense of adventure to your fitness routine. Parts of this new adventure could involve uneven terrain, steep inclines, and wearing a heavy backpack.  In this section, we have listed some tips to help you prepare for your fitness adventure.

 Go the Distance - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Canada's Physical Activity Guide, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise nearly every day of the week [1,2].  A brisk two-mile (about 3.2 km) hike over level terrain is enough to meet this goal, but even walking at a more comfortable pace can have short- and long-term benefits for your health.

Use the Proper Equipment - A comfortable pair of well-fitting hiking shoes is essential to keep your feet happy and prevent sprains, strains and shin splints. A set of trekking poles is a great idea for steep or rocky trails and they reduce the amount of impact on your knees and ankles while walking downhill.

Make Sure you are Up to the Challenge - Now is a great time to prepare for the hiking season. A month's worth of strengthening and conditioning exercises will help you enjoy the season to it's fullest, while remaining pain and strain free. Also, stability, coordination and balance exercises will help you keep your footing on the trail, no matter what the terrain.

Pace Yourself - Hiking trails can be unpredicatble, so make sure you pace yourself.  Using all of your stamina at the start of the trail could result in fatigue during that last big climb at the end of the hike!  Also make sure to take regular breaks and keep yourself hydrated.

For more great hiking tips or to discuss the benefits of having an injury prevention assessment before you hit the trails, be sure to talk to the trained, licensed physiotherapists at Peak Physical Therapy.  Or, if you currently have an injury, one of our physiotherapists would be happy to assess you and create a program that will get back on your feet. Call Peak Physical Therapy to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have. 

 Hiking Trail Links


New Articles!

 Great news!  We have recently added over 50 new articles to our patient resource library.  Here are a few of the topics which may interest you:

Patient Guides:   

Pediatric Topics:

New Sports Sections


 It may be between sporting seasons, but its never too early or too late to visit our new sports resource section!  This month's featured sports are Soccer and Cross Country Skiing.  


 In the Sports Sections, you can learn about common injuries associated with these activities, and helpful, sport-specific stretches are included, which can help you prevent injuries associated with soccer and cross country skiing.  


1.    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for Everyone: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Updated May 10, 2010. Accessed December 20, 2010.

2.    Public Health Agency of Canada. Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living. Available from Accessed December 20, 2010.

3.    American Heart Association. Fighting Heart Disease and Stroke, Physical Activity Calorie Use Chart. Accessed December 20, 2010.

4.     Hardman AE, Hudson A. Brisk walking and serum lipid and lipoprotein variables in previously sedentary women--effect of 12 weeks of regular brisk walking followed by 12 weeks of detraining. Br J Sports Med. 1994;28:261-266.

5.     Tully MA, Cupples ME, Hart ND, et al. Randomised controlled trial of home-based walking programmes at and below current recommended levels of exercise in sedentary adults. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007;61:778-783.

6.     Bricklin M, Spilner M, eds. Prevention's Practical Encyclopedia of Walking for Health: From Age-Reversal to Weight Loss, the Most Complete Guide Ever Written. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc; 1993.

7.     Jenab M, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Ferrari P, et al. Association between pre-diagnostic circulating vitamin D concentration and risk of colorectal cancer in European populations: a nested case-control study. BMJ. 2010 Jan 21;340:b5500.




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