With hiking hot on the heels of yoga as the fitness trend of the moment, we decided to find out a little more. Step forward Anja Phoenix, whose walks take her all over the country – but not just National Parks and rolling hills. More recently, she has been pioneering urban hiking, so that city-dwellers needn’t travel miles for a slice of the action…
From remote Lake District valleys to bustling city squares, each place holds something special and getting to know it can have a multitude of benefits. Urban hiking is all about taking advantage of the environment on your doorstep and just getting out there, no matter where you live, discovering more about your city in the process.
The layers of history and culture in our cities are incredible; it’s fascinating that each one has its own ambience that can evoke different feelings. Covent Garden is a great part of London if you want to discover hidden courtyards and secret secluded spots within the hustle and bustle.
The physical side of hiking in a city is fairly similar to that of a rural outing, maybe with less of the mud! It’s great exercise and you can still do all the traditional things associated with country hiking, from navigation to hill reps. Look for green spaces, landscaped parks or a tower of stairs to climb. Just 30 minutes can leave you with a healthy and happy feeling for the whole day.
I use different kit depending on the weather, the length of time I am out and how fast I am moving. Comfy footwear and versatile clothing is a must for me, as I like to travel light too. I have two young children who sometimes hike smaller trails with me, so practicality is always key. I love this new Mint Velvet hoodie for urban hiking.
Some of the most inspirational moments come from unexpected directions. Take the opportunity to look up, down and all around at the layers of history in our cities. Did you know it’s also harder to feel down on a walk if you are looking up…try it!
Some people prefer their own company on a hike but if you prefer walking with others check out the Ramblers website as a starting point.
The city is just one big outdoors gym if you’re prepared to open your mind. If you see a park bench, do a few triceps dips….a wall, a fallen tree, a curb, it’s all out there. Run a few strides when the mood takes you or simply wander; try to match your mood and energy levels rather than fight against them.
Part of the charm of an urban hike is having a sense of adventure and discovering new things. Whether you prefer a set route or just to wander freely if you approach it with the right mindset you can’t go wrong.
Hiking is a great way to exercise and build fitness. A distance of 5k is perfect as it is achievable if you haven’t exercised for a while, but still gives a good workout. You might be surprised by how far you wander when you are feeling inspired.