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Hill walking is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors, boost your fitness and challenge yourself. Whether you want to get out and about in the wonderful hills of Dorset, or travel further afield to the peaks of Snowdonia or the mountains of Scotland, hill walking can offer you amazing views, fresh air and a sense of achievement.
However, it can also be daunting for beginners or those who are not used to walking on uneven terrain. If you want to get better at hill walking, we’ve come up with some tips that can help you.
Walking up a steep hill can be exhausting and make you feel out of breath, especially when you’re not used to it. To avoid this, you need to pace yourself and use the right technique. Here are some steps you can follow:
Before you tackle a steep hill, walk for 10 to 15 minutes on flat or slightly inclined ground. This will help you loosen up your muscles and joints and prepare your heart and lungs for the uphill challenge.
Don’t try to walk too fast or too slow on a steep hill. Find a speed that allows you to breathe deeply and steadily, without panting or struggling to catch your breath.
When walking up a steep hill, lean slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. This will help you keep your balance and reduce the strain on your lower back. Keep your head up and look ahead, not down at your feet.
As the slope gets steeper, shorten your stride and take smaller steps. This will help you maintain your momentum and avoid overstretching your legs. Try to land on your midfoot or heel and roll through your foot to push off with your toes.
Swing your arms in sync with your legs, but don’t overdo it. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and move them back and forth, not across your body. This will help you propel yourself forward and balance your torso.
If you feel too tired or breathless, stop, take a drink of water and rest for a few minutes.
Hill walking is a great way to improve your health and wellbeing. By walking up a steep hill, you can boost heart and lung health, helping to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Walking up an incline also works your lower body muscles and bones, making them stronger and denser. It also releases endorphins, the natural painkillers and mood enhancers of the body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
The number of calories burned while hill walking depends on several factors, such as your weight, the speed you walk at, the steepness of the hill and the duration of your walk.
As a general rule, a person weighing 150 pounds burns about 10 more calories per mile (an increase of about 12%) for every 1% of uphill grade. This means that at a 10% grade, the same person would burn more than twice as many calories per mile as they would walking on flat ground.
To enjoy hill walking safely and comfortably, you need to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Here are some tips on what to wear for hill walking:
Dorset is a wonderful sprawling county, offering a variety of scenic hill walks. From easy uphill strolls to more challenging inclines, there is something for everyone. Here are some of our favourite spots go hill walking in Dorset:
Here in Dorset, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations to enjoy hill walking. Whether you prefer the breath-taking countryside views from Hambledon Hill or the glorious coastal scenery of Golden Cap, there is something for every hill walker to enjoy.
However, if a more flat, level surface is more your style, why not check out are article Flat walks in Dorset for inspiration?
Whatever your walking preference, if you are looking to get fit and active, the team at LiveWell Dorset is here to help! Our specialist Wellness advisors are on hand to provide tips, support and guidance to help you reach your health and fitness goals. We’ve helped thousands of people across Dorset live happier, healthier lives and we’d love to help you too. Register with us today to find out more.
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