Looking for a low-maintenance sport? There’s probably no better way to go than hiking. Just pop on a pair of hiking shoes
and off you go. According to Tina Vindum, who authored the book Outdoor Fitness and offers group exercise classes held
on and around Mount Tamalpais, there’s no comparison between a gym workout and the one you’ll get out in nature.
“On a treadmill your movements are redundant, meaning you keep working the same muscles over and over again,” she
explains. “In nature, you’re constantly readjusting to the terrain, which means engaging different muscles, burning more
calories and improving agility.” Uphill works the glutes. Downhill is all about the quads. Add in some hiking poles and
your upper body will also feel the burn. “Poles help work your arms, back and chest and take pressure off the knees, and
if you’re feeling tentative about the terrain, it’s like having two extra feet,” Vindum says.
Naming a favorite trail isn’t easy for her: “That changes all the time,” she says with a laugh. Recently, she spent a
fabulous day on Mount Tam’s Matt Davis Trail. “But then again, Muir Woods is also spectacular,” she says. “There’s all
this moss and lichen around, which means the air quality is excellent. When I take my clients there I tell them to take a
few deep breaths, because it’s the cleanest air they’re going to breathe all day.”