Often we look for ways not only to improve our health but also to have fun at the same time. A great way to do both at the same time is hiking. Yuma and the surrounding areas have some well-known hiking adventures we will share with you along with the ten benefits of hiking. Ignacio Malpica, Certified Fitness Instructor and Physical Therapist says, “Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination.” Hiking provides a way to use all of your senses while gaining physical strength. The awesome potential of hiking is that there are varying levels of hikes for all ages and all fitness levels.
Ten Health Benefits of Hiking for Children and Adults:
- An increase in cardiovascular and respiratory fitness
- Improvement of muscular tone with each hike that you are able to accomplish
- Decrease in your risk of stroke or heart attack
- Lower blood pressure and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
- Lower cholesterol levels
- An increase in bone density
- Improvement of mental clarity
- A boost in your endorphin that decrease incidences of depression
- More restful sleep
- Family hikes assist in improving communication skills
How Hikes are Rated for Degree of Difficulty:
When deciding which hikes you can do that will match the level you are at, hikes are often “rated” by professionals who know the terrain and can define the differences clearly. It is good to investigate a potential hiking area by researching and finding others who have been to these areas before. Below are three ways hikes are defined or rated.
- Easy – A hike rated as easy means that almost anyone can complete this type of hike without much difficulty.
- Moderate - A hike classified as moderate may require a large part of the day to complete and individuals wanting to attempt these hikes should be in good physical condition.
- Strenuous - Strenuous hikes are an indication that either they take one or more days to complete and a large change in elevation usually occurs during part of the hike.
Easy, Moderate and Strenuous Hiking Trails near Yuma:
An easy rated hiking nature path is the Yuma West Wetlands Park which is paved and runs parallel to the Colorado River. Not only do you get to exercise and improve your health, you also get introduced to lots of wildlife and greenery. For more information check out this site: Yuma West Wetlands Park .
Another family friendly beginner’s hike is the Painted Desert Trail of Imperial Valley out by Martinez Lake. It is 1.3 miles long and full of differing vegetation and local wildlife. This is a great way to get fun and fitness at the same time as connecting with your surroundings. The trail is off of Red Cloud Mine Road. Take a look at the following link: Painted Desert Trail .
A moderate hike due to change in elevation is the Palm Canyon Trail in the Kofa Mountains, which lie an hour north of Yuma just outside of Quartzsite. This canyon hosts the home of the only native palm trees in Arizona. The following link gives photos, information and directions to this site: KOFA Mountain Palm Canyon Trail .
A Strenuous Hike in the same region as the Palm Canyon Trail is Signal Peak. The hike is 4 miles roundtrip and requires a minimum of 6 hours to do not including stop for a lunch. It has an elevation climb of 2,000 feet. Once to the top of the summit, you can see the Imperial Valley below. This is a great endurance hike for building stamina. Signal Peak Information and Kofa Mountain Directions .