Many outdoor enthusiasts in Europe will agree that nothing really compares to hiking in SouthWest Germany. Some people enjoy the clean and fresh air, while others enjoy the outstanding landscapes. Today, hikers still enjoy the ease and harmony of the Black Forest, while others love the green and intense meadows of the Swabian Mountains or the river valleys found in Hohenlohe.
Hiking is described as a type of recreational activity that was first invented in SouthWest Germany more than 100 years ago. It is not surprising that the Trail-System has become so well known.
The History Of Hiking
The 20/2003 Government Decree about Rural and Active Tourism, which was brought by the Andalusian Government on the 29 January 2002, states that hiking is described as a short or long route walking-expedition, that involves trails, where there are possibilities or opportunities to have an overnight stay.
In accordance with this particular regulation, the rural paths and hiking trails are known as tourist resources that are designed to develop cultural, leisure, sports and other types of active-tourism actions. For this reason, these active tourism-activities have been classified as sports that are conducted in nature in the way of using the surrounding resources. This also involves a certain level of risk in regard to skillfulness and effort.
Hiking is also regarded as an activity that is relaxing and is often mistaken for or included with other disciplines that are similar like trekking, mountaineering or walking. According to an extensive bibliography on outdoor sports and mountains, trekking is regarded as very similar to hiking. One of the main differences between the two is that trekking is conducted along paths or trails that have not been signposted, which means it is not classified as safe when compared to the trails that are officially approved.
The History Behind Hiking
These activities first began in France at the end of World War II. The 50th anniversary of hiking was celebrated and recognized in 2010 by the French Hiking Federation, known as the FFRP (Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre). Other countries that included Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, and Germany, stimulate hiking in the latest type of “mountain tourism.”
Hiking became popular in the country of Spain in the late part of the 1960’s. It was from Catalonia that it first made its appearance and then expanded out to other areas, even though it was not as equally developed in each of these areas. The SMF (Spanish Mountain Federation), which is today known as FEDME (Spanish Mountain and Climbing Sports Federation), went onto include hiking as an activity and named it “Sendermiso” which stands for hiking in English.
Historic Hiking Trails In SouthWest Germany
1. The Black Forest
The Black Forest situated along the Westweg in Western Way was the first of the marked trails in the world. It is here that people can stride along the impressive gorges, that runs past ancient castles and waterfalls. This trail offers opportunities for an easy one-day hike or the opportunity to set longer and more challenging hikes. Regardless of the hike, tourists and visitors can expect rolling hills, fresh mountain air, and breath-taking views. The hike from Tauber Valley down to Lake Constance, offers cozy huts along with local wines and food.
2. The Pilgrim Trails And Roman Roads
The Pilgrim trails include the Santiago Pilgrimage Trail which is an old route that is centuries in an age that comes to an end in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Roman route includes the Lime Hiking Trail that spans over 150 miles from Miltenberg situated in Neckar-Odenwald nature Reserve onto the Wilburgstetten along with the Swabian-Franconian Forest. In southwest Germany, the 8 day or 8 stage hike starts in Rothenburg ob der Tauber a medieval town and spans onto Ulm a stunning cathedral city.
3. Hiking Heaven And The Gorges
Wutah Gorge known as the Wutachschlucht, and nicknamed after the “Grand Canyon” of the Black Forest, includes a 10-mile hike that takes around 5 hours. The gorge is 650 feet deep which is rich in an array of flora-and-fauna. Here you can find about 1,200 different types of flowers and ferns, around 1,400 bug species and 590 different types of butterflies.
The Traufgänge is special types of hiking trails, that run through the outstanding countryside. Here you can expect beautiful views and sunshine that filters through the extremely dense forest. This trail also includes a health land known as Wacholderheide which is filled with Juniper trees, orchids and silver thistles, rock formations with unique shapes and rugged gorges.
The Health Benefits Of Hiking
Outdoor activities such as hiking come with a bounty of perks, fresh air, outstanding views and the distinct smells and sounds of nature. Hiking can be compared to a cardio workout that is associated with the following benefits:
- Reduce the risks associated with heart disease
- Improve blood sugar levels and blood pressure
- Improve bone density because the activity of walking is classified as a weight-bearing exercise
- Build-up strength in the area of the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes along with the muscles situated in the lower legs and hips
- Balance improvements
- Strengthening of the core muscles
- Assist in weight control and management
- Mood booster. Research has shown that the act of hiking has an extremely positive impact when it comes to combating symptoms such as anxiety and stress. In addition, when people take the time to spend time in nature, they feel more balanced, relaxed and calm.
How To Improve A Hiking Workout
For those looking to get the most out of their hiking, here are a few fitness-boosting strategies.
- Start Slowly, the local and short hikes are best for the beginners. The next step would be to gradually work-up to the trails that have uneven terrain or hills.
- Use Poles, when digging into the ground and the act of propelling the body forward, exerts pressure on the muscles in the upper body to work a lot harder, which results in excellent cardio workouts.
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