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Hiking for your health

            Hiking is one of the most rapidly growing recreational activities in America. More than 155 million people walk for pure enjoyment, and the USDA Forest Service has predicted a 93% increase in day hiking over the next 50 years (American Hiking Society). The reasons behind these statistics are many and life affirming. Hiking is a recreational way to get the recommended dosage of exercise in while having fun and reaping mental and spiritual benefits at the same time. What is there not to love about hiking? The answer is nothing. There is no other recreational activity that provides as many proven positive effects as hiking and that can be enjoyed by people of all ages in profound ways. The only argument one might have would be the physical challenge. There are hiking trails though that are more strenuous than others and in most National Parks there are signs and maps directing you to what suits you.
             Somebody dies every 60 seconds of a heart attack in America. Cardiovascular disease kills about 479,000 women and 447,000 men. Heart disease is not caused by inactivity alone but having a regular routine of walking lowers the risk. It has been proven to lower blood pressure by 5 to 20 points. Furthermore, it has been linked to reducing the overall cholesterol level. For instance, a study was done that compared the cholesterol levels of mail carriers who walked a few miles daily to people engaged in no exercise. The results proved that walking leads to stabilizing cholesterol levels. Also, there is no better way to lose weight than walking. A person weighing 150 pounds and walking a comfortable 2mph. will burn 240 calories in one hour. They can burn more by increasing their speed. (American Hiking Society). While these statistics show the hard facts about exercise, and they are hard for anyone to argue, the problem is that exercise is often stigmatized as being dreadful and tiresome especially to the couch potato society that modern technology has spurned.

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