Take a Hike in Central PA

It’s finally summer after a brutal winter.  Everyone is ready to get outside.  If you have been treading on the treadmill or hiking up the stair climber all winter, you may be ready to get outside and put those muscles to use on a hike in the great Central PA outdoors.

Memorial Day weekend my friend Steph and her hubby took a hike in Ricketts Glen State Park. It was a beautiful weekend and she got some great pictures she shared with me.

Steph and hubby in Rickett's Glen
Steph and hubby in Rickett’s Glen

If you’re not sure where to hike or how to get started, check out PA Hikes. It has information on 28 different hiking trails, and a link to hiking clubs, maps books and trail guides.  The trails are divided out into backpacking trails and day hike trails.  Each trail has a narrative written by a hiker who has completed the trail.

If you decide to do more than a day hike, you will probably want to get in hiking shape. Here’s a four week workout plan to get ready to do a backpacking trip. You could even turn your pre-hike workout into a fitness challenge!  Click here to get point tracking sheets and directions to get started.

 

Exercise and Fitness: Mountain Hike Workout 3

I am really loving these mountain hike intervals and now I have my hubby hooked on them too. Last week, we did one on the battlefield in Gettysburg.  We were staying close to Culp’s Hill in a B&B called the Farnsworth House. We walked out the door, across the street and in a few minutes we were on the battlefield. The hilly terrain made it a great workout.  When we were done, we took in a little history of the three day Gettysburg battle.

The Gettysburg battlefield at the end of our hike.

This morning we hiked on Stone Creek Road.  It was all uphill during the 30 minute interval. I was breathing as hard as I used to when I ran in the mornings.  It was a much more beautiful walk than the 2 miles around my neighborhood.  We had a crisp, cool early fall morning. I can’t wait to try in again when the leaves start to turn colors.

Here’s some of the exercises we used during the 30 second “work” phases:

Burpees with a vertical jump, skips, basketball lunges, push-ups, defensive slides, speed squats, inchworm,  and walking lunges.

Hopefully I’ll be able to upload a video soon with the exercise we use during the work phases so you can make up your own mountain hike interval!

Exercise and Fitness: Mountain Hike Workout 2

Last week I took my fitness routine on the road and hiked a mountain road.  This week I went back to explore the “Pigpile Trail” I found while on that hike.  I had a better handle on my HIIT interval trainer app.  It was programmed to perfection this time.  After a short warm-up and stretch I started on the trail.  I had no idea what it would be like.  It turned out to be mostly uphill for my workout phase.

This was my gym today!

I did three minute walk intervals followed by 30 second work intervals.  When the trail was uphill, I chose exercises such as reverse lunges, side lunges and squats that kept me on the ground. That also applied when I was on uneven or rocky parts of the trail.  When it was flat and smooth, I chose jump rope, ski jumps, jumping jacks and such.  This kept my heart rate elevated for the 35 minutes of my interval workout. I also had to keep an eye out for snakes, bears and other varmints that might cross my path!

When I finished, I turned around and hiked back out.  This was cool down, so I slowed down and enjoyed the view and the absolute quiet of the woods.  Although I was moving, this was pure relaxation for me!  I did take some time to stop and take some pictures of the interesting things I found on the trail.  Like this mushroom..

…and this mystery feather.  Anyone know what kind of bird this is from?

On the way home I stopped to enjoy this beautiful view.

Have you combined nature and your exercise routine?  Tell me about it! I welcome all new ideas to keep me (and others) motivated to work out.

Exercise and Fitness: Making Up My Own Workout

I get bored quickly with the same old same old. It happens when I exercise too. This morning I just didn’t want to hit the basement and do the same old cardio workout. We had been on a picnic in one of our local state parks and took a mountain road home. I thought about going back to that road and walking for certain intervals mixed with some lower body exercises; a sort of Tabata in reverse.

I needed an interval timer for my phone to keep me moving. We use Bit Timer on the iPad but it’s not available for the Android phone. I found “A HIIT Interval Timer” which looked like it would work pretty well and it was free.

I threw my phone, a power bar, a water bottle and a raincoat into a bag and headed out. Since I was going alone, I left a note for my daughter and texted my hubby to let him know where I was. Best to be safe!

This was my routine:

Walk 5 minutes
Jumping Jacks 30 seconds
Walk 5 minutes
Reverse Lunges 30 seconds
Walk 5 minutes
Jump Rope
w/high knees 30 seconds
Walk 5 minutes
Side Lunges 30 seconds
Walk 5 minutes
Skiers Jump 30 seconds
Walk 5 minutes
Football Squats 30 seconds

The walk was entirely uphill, so I got a really good cardio workout. When I was done, I had a great cool down by walking downhill back to my car. There is something great about being in the woods near nature that is centering and stress relieving. I also discovered another trail that I will go back to explore very soon.

The only downside to this workout was I hadn’t programmed the HIIT timer correctly and had to adjust. I’m sure I will be better at it next time. Don’t be afraid to make up your own workout by incorporating the things you love to do. It will definitely motivate you to keep up with your fitness activities.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad