Burst Hiking: An Exhilarating Sprint Into Nature
Imagine venturing out into the wilderness or your usual hike that you’ve trudged on for years. Take this a step further and visualize yourself strolling into a new realm of heart-thumping intensity. Welcome to Burst Hiking, not your everyday cross-train fitness routine.
Burst hiking is a brand new concept to hit the outdoor scene and challenge the normal hiker to something exciting, unique, and definitely raises the exercise factor by more than a notch. If you’ve been accustomed to hiking on fairly hilly terrain, burst hiking can be the elixir your body has been waiting for since you laced up those swanky hiking shoes. Unlike trail running or speed hiking at a solid clip, burst hiking holds all the benefits of achieving the runner’s high without the repetitive beat-down of your joints.
Instead, with burst hiking, you’ll have no agenda and only the feeling of when it’s time to pick up the pace on the trail and sprint up a hill for a short distance. If you’re carrying a water bottle, all the better. Trading hands as to which side of your body holds the bottle, you’ll also reap the muscle-strengthening for your shoulders, biceps, and upper back during the burst. If you hold the bottle at both ends and with both hands above your head as you slow your roll to a walk/hike pace again, your muscle memory will thank you for remembering that not only do you need to take a sip of water, but an over-the-head held weight helps to work on balancing the connective tissues and ligaments of the shoulders and upper back.
The Origin of Burst Hiking
The dynamics of many social, technological, and economic phenomena are driven by individual human actions, turning the quantitative understanding of human behavior into a central question of modern science. Current models of human dynamics assume that human actions are randomly distributed in time and thus well spaced apart by distinct processes. In contrast, there is increasing evidence that the timing of many human activities, ranging from communication to entertainment and work patterns, follow non-Poisson statistics, characterized by bursts of rapidly occurring events separated by long periods of inactivity.
Named after a French mathematician, the Poisson distribution of human activity is defined as a subtle probability of a given number of events occurring in a fixed interval of time–the stop and start of burst hiking. If these events occur within a known and constant rate of distance and intensity, the Poisson distribution refers to this ‘bursty’ nature of human behavior whereby you hike at a faster pace based on the timing of when the body’s ready followed by very long waiting times at a much slower pace until the next interval.
Burst hiking proves that the daily pattern of human activity isn't random, but instead "bursty." You work to trudge up the hiking hill in a sprinting fashion, then play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing. It’s uncanny how much your heart-rate loves this type of movement without the constant pounding on pavement and on your hip, knee, and ankle joints.
If you’re not a seasoned hiker, the guidelines for burst hiking is to start out slowly. Find a trail that’s not too steep and still provides enough of a cardiovascular and calorie expenditure distance that allows you to get started on a bursting hike. Wear appropriate clothing–quality apparel that Carvemark can tailor to your athletic needs–knowing you’ll be heating up from the inside out and shedding clothes as you go. And by all means, fill that water bottle to the brim.
Begin the hike with a proper warmup, around a quarter of a mile. If you don’t have mile markers or you’re unfamiliar with the landscape, simply feel how your body responds to the onset of movement. Maybe from there, use my #1 running tip, pick a rock or tree or bush off in the distance on the trail. Run to it as fast as your body will take you there. Once arrived, keep a slow walking pace and hold your water bottle above your head. Breathe deeply and slowly and don’t stop moving.
This is where you get to test your endurance and your muscle-type. Most athletes who excel at anaerobic sports such as track, 100 meter swimming, basketball, baseball, weight lifting, or other sports that are short bursts of all-out performances, these are your anaerobic athletes, which means their bodies excel without as much oxygen as an endurance athlete. Long distance runners, swimmers, cyclists, you name it, these are the aerobic sports who are typically leaner in build and can sustain long periods of working out with oxygen as their primary fuel source.
Knowing which muscle type your body has–whether more anaerobic or aerobic–will be revealed during a burst hike. If you’re seriously out of breath after your first sprint, or burst, either you’re a bit out of shape, or your muscles respond better to longer distances. Play around with burst hiking. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and yet it’s incredibly fun and exciting!
Written by: Gerry Ellen Avery