Health Benefits of Hiking: Raise Your Heart Rate and Your Mood

Last month, I took a 7.5-mile hike near Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia. Thanks to a nearly 1,900 foot-elevation gain, I definitely got a good cardiovascular workout. But hitting the trail may offer some additional health benefits, as I learned from Dr. Aaron L. Baggish, associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “The nice thing about hiking is that it exists along an entire continuum, from a gentle walk on a flat wooded path to mountain climbing,” says Dr. Baggish. Nearly everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, can find a hike that offers the right level of personal challenge. And hikin

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