I have lived back home in Hong Kong for almost 2 years and fair enough I was pretty pregnant with my second baby when we got here- however I still cant believe it has taken me this long to get hiking.
The Chinese love exercise. All the club houses, playgrounds, nature trails and country parks are well used (and you thought Hong Kong was just a load of high rises!) We have a great promenade all the way along the Rambler Channel and at the end there is a great nature trail/hike which is about 6-7km.
Hiking is amazing for strength, cardio and endurance exercise. Getting into nature is fundamental to health. Although I came across a few people (today is sunday- proper hiking day all year round!) there were sections where I was completely alone. I have also been going on the weekdays with my friends while the kids are at school and it has been lovely and quiet. A great way to catch up and relax while exercising!
You see all sorts- a shack set up playing Chinese opera and serving tea, people sitting on the viewing benches playing on their phones and a guy sitting in among the trees playing his meditation music and just being, and children swinging on make shift swings attached to the trees. Close to the top there is a clearing where there are all sorts of wood tied between trees at different height and I can just imagine this place is stowed out in the mornings with the older population doing their exercises and stretches!
People exercise at all ages (it was especially nice to see so many families out today- especially since there was a lot of up hills and steps) and times of the day. It is not uncommon to see people swimming and chatting in the channel (mostly the older population- even in winter and many just in their normal underpants!), doing their tai chi, their group dancing on the promenade to music, walking, stretching and running. They are there at the first light of dawn and even at 1-2am! Most children’s playground here also have sections for adult exercise, pull up bars etc- and they are used- constantly. It is inspiring and motivating and a big reason for why.
Here are 10 reasons why hiking is good for you;
1. Exercises your heart. It gets a sweat up and the hills and steps while talking are great to get the heart beating and strengthening. It has been stated that people who hike are less likely to suffer from heart attacks.
2. It improves lung capacity and strength. The combination of cardiovascular strength and respiratory strength in and exercise that can also be done by all ages, sizes and abilities. Building slowly over time in the fresh air within nature can improve many respiratory conditions.
3. Being in nature is calming and relaxing. Alongside the cardiovascular benefits reducing stress has, you can also experience better balanced hormone levels. Achieving goals such as reaching the top can do wonders for self-esteem and self-respect. Blood sugar balance may be affected alongside greater cortisol balance.
4. Being relaxed in your own company is a great skill to have. You can choose which direction to go in and how long to go for, how long to rest and how much you enjoy it. It can help you to process other things in your life (I always get my best blog and business ideas when out exercising in nature).
5. It is also a lovely way to socialise. I have really enjoyed switching catch up coffees and lunches with hiking. We are talking about all sorts and laughing and it makes it all the more enjoyable! Today my husband is coming with me and I am looking forward to bringing the kids one day soon too.
6. You can hike in all weathers, equipment permitting. It is shaded in the sunshine and still interesting in the rain and cold!
7. Hiking is weight bearing and the ups and downs of the hills and steps will help with muscle tone and bone density.
8. Combined with the release of stress, the exercise, the calm and energy felt during and after. Hiking is an excellent way for everyone to start to manage and balance weight.
9. It is accessible to all. There are all sorts of routes so children through to grandparents can do it. Getting to the end of something through work and determination is a great life skill to teach kids and of course being able to do something healthy with the WHOLE family (with a little picnic or swim at one of the beaches is a great bonus and day out)
10. Hikes are free! Nature is free!
So now I know that this lovely trail is on my doorstep I have no excuse! What is on your doorstep? I would love you to add your favourite spots/routes in the comments.
see the post here; http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/small-footprint-friday-sustainable-living-linkup-032814