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Hiking for Cardio. Good for the body, mind!

May 4, 2021 / Haley McCoy
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Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. There are hundreds of ways to exercise outdoors and one is guaranteed to clear your mind, energize your body, and shake up your cardio. As George Wherry said, “The outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man,” so take a hike!

It’s no secret that nature is therapeutic.

Perhaps some of the best medication you can take is a break away from wifi, notifications, and alarms. Technology does wonders to your body- and not the good kind. Computers, phones, tablets- these all tend to cause bad posture, sedentary behavior, and stress. The result? High blood pressure, headaches, back pain, and an unhappy heart, to name a few. Amazingly, getting outside, soaking up some Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, inhaling some fresh oxygen, looking at the serenity of nature, and taking time away from the city and work-life is enough to combat stress and its symptoms. Hiking is most definitely helpful in clearing your mind and helping you see things larger than life.


The mountain is your playground; choose your difficulty by picking a path fit for your needs, including incline, terrain, and length. Many of us complete our cardio workouts on the treadmill and equipment in the gym. Instead of pushing the “hills” setting, why not do the real thing? Hiking provides more than genuine hills- real life HIIT (high intensity interval training). Unpredictable paths naturally vary the incline, intensity, and as a result, your heart rate. It’s a perfect workout for weight loss and conditioning; it’s perfect for any budget; it’s even perfect with a group. Pretty much hiking is perfect for everyone.

It is always a good idea to change up your routine.

Different modes of exercise challenge your body and prevent you from getting bored. Each hike can be different and exciting with new views and scenery. Plus, varying terrain trains balance, stability, and increases muscle recruitment. Hiking is good for more than cardio; it’s a great lower body workout too. Don’t be surprised if you experience muscle soreness days after hiking. DOMS (muscle soreness) is more likely to happen with eccentric movement- the kind of movement you do hiking downhill. You’ll be working your muscles in ways you aren’t accustomed to and it will be great!

Change up your workout and try a fun hike in your area. You’ll be amazed at what is in your backyard. We recommend these hikes IN OUR AREAS:


  1. Donut Falls (easy)
  2. Stewart Falls (moderate)
  3. Angels Landing (difficult)


  1. Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park (easy)
  2. Vrain Mountain Hike (moderate)
  3. Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (easy to difficult)


  1. Faye Canyon (Easy)
  2. Devils Bridge (Moderate)
  3. Camelback Mountain (Difficult)


  1. Wichita Mountains Forty-Foot Hole (Easy)
  2. Friends Trail Loop (Moderate)
  3. Skyline Trail (Difficult)


  1. Castle Rock (Easy)
  2. Flint Hills (Moderate)
  3. Elk River (Difficult)


  1. Camp Creek and FAll Creek Loop (Easy)
  2. Cowles Bog (Moderate)
  3. Three Lakes (Difficult)

Get out there and remember, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir