Special Feature

Hiking for Fitness

Written by Riley Weeks-Wynne

Illustration by Maximiliano Mauricio

Ever since Mid-March of this year, the concept of exercising within indoor fitness facilities has been very hit-or-miss, triggering a disruption to the normal fitness schedules of active individuals. This begs the question: what is there to do? How can we exercise? Well, there’s a wonderful solution for Southern California residents: hiking trails.

By combining cardiovascular aerobic exercise with sightseeing and beautiful visuals, hiking trails can provide an alternative to the unpredictable nature of fitness facilities during the COVID-19 era. Research shows that hiking on a near-daily basis (up to five days per week) increases endorphin production and diminishes mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Additionally, hiking typically exposes the body to direct sunlight which supplies the body with a proper intake of vitamin D.

Luckily, Southern California is a region teeming with various paths and trails for people to use. In Los Angeles County, for example, there is the Forrestal Ecological Trail (located past San Pedro in Rancho Palos Verdes). This trail has incredible views of the ocean and Catalina Island. Another incredible and very popular trail is Runyon Canyon in West Hollywood. The climb is extremely steep, offering a challenging hike for those who want to pump up their heart rate. The views here are incomparable! From the skyline of Downtown Los Angeles to the hills of Bel Air and Santa Monica, Runyon Canyon offers a window into the urban landscape.

Of course, there are so many hiking trails to choose from, but choosing just a few or even one to start out with is an excellent way to branch out an active lifestyle during this already very dynamic year.

Thinking about going on an outdoor adventure? Be sure to check out asirecreation.org/rock-outdoor for information on affordable equipment rentals and helpful advice from our staff.

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