My Daily Goal: Hiking for Mental Health

Walking improves my mood almost immediately.

It’s not just for physical fitness and building up strength, that I challenge myself to go on a daily walk.

No matter how down or stressed I feel, a good stroll always lifts my spirit.

Simply walking in my own neighborhood already gives me clarity of thought and peace of mind most of the time. But if I manage to plan a long beach walk into my schedule, the stress-reducing effect of my hike is way stronger.

 Also read: Does walking help with depression?

Yesterday at the beach was brilliant! First sunny day after weeks of heavy rain…

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Using Instagram as a Habit Tracker

Well, I’ve tried. I thought posting pictures of my daily walks on Instagram would keep me more motivated. I even managed to create 83 of my planned #365hikeschallenge posts.

This is post 83/365 – a picture of a beautiful tree in Athens, Greece, taken on my way to the produce market on Saturday.

This picture was taken on the 27th of May. Today is the 3rd of September. What happened?

I was already waiting several months for surgery, trying very hard to stay as fit as possible while waiting.

End of May I got a phone call telling me that there was a 5-week delay. My motivation tanked below zero. I was sick 5 out of 7 days for weeks in a row already, and tired of waiting.

Whenever I did have the energy I walked around the block, but my daily walks weren’t about exploring nature or a new city anymore, just exercise.

Day 83 of using Instagram as habit tracker for my daily walk. Beautiful tree in Athens, Greece.

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Conditie Opbouwen na Ziekte

Conditie opbouwen na ziekte

‘Hiking back to Health’ ontstond tijdens de zoektocht hoe ik mijn conditie kon opbouwen na long-Covid, zo’n anderhalf jaar geleden. Ik was uitgeput en buiten adem van 2 minuten lopen, en wist toen nog niet dat conditie opbouwen geen rechte lijn omhoog was, maar keer op keer opnieuw beginnen. Dat is maar goed ook, want anders was ik misschien moedeloos geworden en niet eens gestart.

Hoewel ik in de afgelopen tijd wegens ziekte wel 5x opnieuw moest beginnen met conditie opbouwen, kwam ik dankzij een aangepast opbouw schema en mijn Habit Trackers iedere keer verder dan de keer daarvoor.

Ik heb onderweg het één en ander geleerd over wat wel of niet werkt, en de lessen verzameld in deze blog. Voor mijzelf, als naslag op momenten dat ik het weer even vergeten ben, en voor anderen met hetzelfde doel: weer fit worden.

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Protein Shake After a Workout?

Protein shake after a work out

A protein shake after a workout is increasingly popular among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders, as a recovery drink.

But I have to admit, I felt silly and pretentious when I started using a shake after my endurance training and hiking exercises, on my fitness instructor’s and doctor’s recommendation.

A little research made me change my mind. Here are my reasons to use protein powder after walking or exercising;

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Hiking in Thailand? Not possible for me!

Thai foot massage on the food marketMy fitness level improved a lot this summer, and I expected to keep this upward trend going. Then I decided to visit a friend in Thailand with my travel points…

The weather in Thailand is hot and humid

These are far from ideal walking circumstances for me. I have quite severe lymphatic edema and

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Getting back in my walking shoes

Remember my proud post with my results after 3 months training for a real hike? How I recovered from long-covid, got fit and lost some weight? Well, that was great.

But then I got Covid again… Omikron this time. I was quite ill, in bed with high fever for almost two weeks.

But it wasn’t all bad news.

Lesson learned!

Back in 2020, I was stubborn and just couldn’t accept that I was exhausted all the time, I was fighting

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Walking for Health Benefits – my Results after 3 Months

In early October 2021 I was completely fed up with my low energy level combined with numerous health issues, so I decided to create a personal training plan* to get fit. I have been walking daily for health benefits since then. The results of my first 3 months of healthy and helpful habits are way … Read more

Does walking help with depression?

Yes, it does. The good news: you don’t have to go for a run. Walking improves your mood.

To make the best of your walks while battling depression, I share some tips and ideas about your surroundings, your company, your goal setting and overall self care. This way you can optimize the positive effects of your walks.

Location matters, when walking to relieve depression

Moving your body supports your brain in many ways.
But there is a big difference in effect between walking indoors, walking in urban surroundings and walking in nature.

Read more: Does walking help with depression?

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Is Walking Good for Weight Loss?

Burning calories while walking sure helps to lose weight.

But for most people, just walking as a work out isn’t enough for sustainable weight loss. Let me tell you why.

Walking is excellent cardiovascular exercise, if done right

walking a stairway in sneakers

Brisk walking for half an hour is effectively burning around 150 calories, depending on your weight, your pace and the duration of the walk. The keyword here is brisk.

If you can still talk, but aren’t able to sing anymore, your pace is in the cardiovascular training zone*. Do this for at least 30 minutes and you start burning some stored fat while walking. During the first half hour you burn sugars, stored in your body, as fuel. If all the stored sugars are used up, your body starts to burn fat that is stored in your fat cells. That fat is what you want to lose, so the sooner you’re able to walk at least 45 minutes, the better 😉

*Of course this is an estimated way of measuring if you’re exercising in the right heart rate. For more accurate results you have to use a smart watch (Apple Watch or Fitbit both give you a great deal of information about your work out ) or a heart rate monitor with a band around your chest. But for most people the estimated guess is good enough.

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How can I use Hiking as Exercise?

Cartoon of me writing down GOALS

This question popped up in my head a few months ago, while feeling desperate with my own exhaustion and my painful legs. The gym was closed due to a Covid-19 lockdown, and I was literally out of breath in 2 minutes. I didn’t even make it to the grocery store, let alone the beach – which is located a 20-minute walk from my house. Hiking beautiful and long nature paths felt way out of reach.

But what if I would use walking as my exercise to become fit again?

I decided to create a Training Plan focused on Hiking.

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