Go Play: The caloric benefits of exercise | PostIndependent.com

Go Play: The caloric benefits of exercise

Brittany Markert
Biking the Colorado National Monument in the winter months can be both rewarding and painful. You may sweat climbing, but take note it may be cool on the way back down. Biking is an excellent way to burn off holiday calories and meet a New Year's resolution.
Duane Lofton |

The Grand Valley is a mecca for all things outdoors — biking, hiking, running, climbing, golfing, and more. Do you think about the benefits of doing these activities?

Here’s a breakdown of calories burned, which is good information to help you in your New Year’s Resolution for better fitness:



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Road (12-14 MPH): 581 calories per hour

The Grand Valley is known for its mountain- and road-biking options. There are many benefits to hitting the trail or road using a bike.

“It’s a more complete workout,” said James Williams, MTB Strength Training Systems owner and founder. “It’s one of the few sports in the world that is considered high aerobic exercise.”

Since cycling is considered a high aerobic exercise, it’s also thought to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. Other added benefits include toning legs and core, improving mental health and the immune system, and an increased lifespan. It’s a low-impact mode of exercise as well.



When it comes to hiking, the Grand Valley features hundreds of miles of trails boasting moderate to extreme terrain. Grand Valley hiking enthusiast Bill Davis explained hiking can build a stronger heart and lungs and increased muscle strength.

“Hiking can work nearly every muscle in your body,” Davis said. “I can definitely feel it when I skip a few weeks.”

Access to hiking trails is often “free of charge or for very little money,” he added.

Other added benefits include enjoyment of scenery and wildlife.

“Hiking gives me a break from the daily grind and helps to clear my head,” Davis explained.



When it comes to running or even walking, the first thing Kaia Fit instructor Brianna Brodak suggests doing is snagging a good pair of running shoes.

“The quickest way to get an injury is wearing the wrong shoes,” she said. “The same thing goes for other equipment like a sports bra, shirt and pants.”

“Take the exercise in baby steps,” Brodak said in reference to new runners. “Starting small will help you achieve goals more easily.”

Another way to help achieve goals is to write them down.

“You are 80-percent more likely to achieve your goals if you do,” Brodak said.

Drink lots of water as it is easy to become dehydrated during the winter months, she added.


4-5 mph, 581 CALORIES PER HOUR

During the winter months it may be hard to enjoy sports like hiking and biking; a good alternative activity is cross-country skiing.

“It’s one of the most aerobic sports,” said Callie West, an avid cross-country skier and instructor for Grand Mesa Nordic Council. “It really keeps your heart rate up.”

It also requires a lot of agility and balance, she explained, and it’s an appropriate sport for any age.

“It creates a passion to be outside during the colder month and creates endorphins,” West said.

(Figures are based on 160 pound person according to http://www.myfitnesspal.com.)

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