Benefits of walking up hill
Here at our fitness retreat, every day is different! Northern Thailand is renowned for its beautiful mountains and hills. The benefits of walking up hill are brilliant and a great effective way to exercise and keep fit.
Walking up hill to lose weight
We start some of our Fresh Start Boot camp days with lovely walks up to picturesque viewpoints, paddy fields and temples before breakfast. Walking along tracks and through local villages, it’s amazing how peaceful and meditative walking can be.
There are so many amazing benefits to walking up hill, such as Promoting health and fighting inflammation. Only 10 minutes of walking a day can improve heart health and keep your joints healthier for longer. You can burn an extra 60% more calories walking up hill than on the flat. You can also burn as many calories walking up hill as you would if you jogged on the flat for the same period of time.
Does walking up hill build muscle?
When you walk on the flat, only around 20% of the muscle tissue in your legs is used. Hill training uses more muscle groups throughout the lower body and even some in your upper body. The main muscles used when walking up hill are the quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, lower leg muscles and secondary muscles.
The quadriceps are your big upper leg muscles. these work together to extend your leg from above the knee. These four muscles make up the biggest muscle group in the human body. By working these you burn maximum calories and fat. Another large group of muscles are the ones at the back of your legs, these are called your Hamstrings. The glutes are your butt muscles, these get worked with the steeper inclines. The steeper the hill, the more the Hamstrings and Glutes get worked and built. The lower leg muscles such as the Calves are worked much harder on the inclined hill than on the flat. Just take a look at the impressive calves and thighs of a mountaineer next time… without staring obviously! Secondary muscles used when walking up hill are your Abs, back muscles and shoulders as you power your arms to drive yourself upwards. The higher the incline, the more you will use these secondary muscle groups.
How to walk up hill without getting tired
Walking up hill without getting tired isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips to help you along and make the up-hill journey more enjoyable! Have a nice 5 minute warm up on flat level ground and incorporate some gentle stretching before setting off. When you walk on the flat you can lengthen your stride, but as you approach the uphill you should look to shorten it. Once on the higher gradients you can make your strides shorter but faster, this will keep your speed up. By taking shorter faster strides you won’t put as much pressure on your knees, quads, hamstrings and be able to keep up your momentum. When on a very steep gradient or are feeling tired, try traversing. Traversing is when you walk from one side of the track to the other. This can also be called zig zagging. Or, if you are from the southern hemisphere zag zigging! Traversing can really help you get your breath back and save the energy expelled from your legs when trying to walk straight up the fall line. This is also a great technique to save your knees when walking downhill as well!
Hill walking workouts
Here are some great hill workouts. If you can’t get out into the country side or mountains, don’t worry! You can set your tread mill at the gym to a higher gradient to work those Glutes and Quads to the max. Try mixing it up a bit, with some walking, jogging and steeper inclines. The tread mill can sometimes be a bit monotonous, so mixing up your workout into 10-minute blocks will keep your interest up. Try walking at a steep incline, then 10 minutes at a lesser gradient and then a jog at the end will see you getting better results and spicing up your 30-minute treadmill blast!
The benefits of walking up hill are amazing! it is great to be in the open air or a great way to spice up a tread mill session. If you want amazing muscle tone, higher endurance and cardio vascular health then find yourself a hill and walk it!