When it comes to recognizing the health benefits of hiking, women appear to be leading the way.

On the trail to health and fitness. women hikers lead the way.
On the trail to health and fitness. women hikers lead the way.

A recent article in Diane, the official magazine of Curves (fitness and weight-loss facilities for women and the largest fitness franchise in the world), profiles women hikers from across North America who love to take a hike.

A Curves member in Alberta, Canada, Ellen Budd, 67, hikes regularly near her home and even trekked 514 miles across France on the Camino de Compostela, an ancient pilgrimage route. “Nothing is a therapeutic as a hike,” says Budd. “I feel so good after.”

The Trailmaster seconds that emotion in the Diane magazine article: “Hiking is all about rejuvenation,” says John McKinney, a hiking expert and the author of Hike for Health and Fitness and numerous other books on the subject. “It’s the ideal way to slow-down, firm-up, reconnect with nature, and restore mind, body and spirit.”

Check out: Hit The Trail: Take a hike and you’re on the path to a slimmer, fitter, happier you.

The excellent article by Jim Gorman makes the point that changeable terrain and trail conditions challenge muscle groups in the lower body as no sidewalk or treadmill can. And for good measure, hiking burns 40 percent more calories than walking!

Hike on.