Who’s up to a hike
Growing up, I was a frequent hiker with my siblings as well as my parents. I continued this activity into adulthood. Hiking has become a part my day, and I can honestly say that it is an amazing experience!
Are you interested to hike? Are you an aspiring hiker? Here are seven great reasons to hike:
1. It’s an effective cardio workout
Regular hiking reduces your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and, most importantly, the chance of getting heart disease. Even moderate hikes can reap these benefits. Experts suggest walking for 150-minutes per week. This works out to less that 30 minutes per day.
These benefits start at any age. Therefore, it’s never too late.
2. It will improve your mental well-being
Hiking doesn’t just benefit your body. It can help your mental health as well. Stanford researchers discovered that hiking for 90 mins in a natural environment (as opposed a urban) can reduce depression . The study also revealed that urban dwellers are more susceptible to anxiety disorders and have a higher risk of developing mood disorders. For city dwellers, it is important to prioritize time spent in nature.
3. It helps you to lose weight
Even a moderate hike can burn calories and help to lose weight. You will burn more calories by walking on a nature trail than you would if your elevation is high.
For maximum weight loss, you should walk fast up hills and slow down when going downhill. Trekking poles help to keep your arms and legs moving which in turn helps to burn extra calories. The correct size hiking poles should be used. When standing, the handle must be at your waist.
You should also be careful with the post-hike eating, drinking, and drinking. It’s okay to have a celebratory drink or eat a pizza. However, too many calories will negate all your hard earned work.
4. It can strengthen your relationship
While hiking is a wonderful solo activity, it can often be even more enjoyable when done with a partner or a group. Hiking with someone can be a great and healthy way to build relationships. Encouragement from a partner can help you to stay motivated when hiking long distances or on strenuous trails. Sharing a trail with another hiker increases everyone’s safety. Even minor injuries like a twisted ankle could quickly become serious if you’re hiking alone. However, if someone is with you they can either help you or refer you to someone.
5. It’s available for purchase in every state
You don’t have to be far from great hiking, no matter your location. There are more than 17,000 miles National Scenic Trails in the US, as well as countless state-created trails. Most hiking trails are free.
Be sure to only hike on the designated trails. Walking off-trail can increase your chances of getting injured and cause damage to fragile plants and fauna.
If you don’t know where great hiking trails are located, search for state forests in your locality. These parks offer many options that suit all skill levels.
6. It’s quick and easy.
Hiking is accessible to anyone. You do not need to have expensive equipment. You can just pack a few things and go.
You can move at your own pace. Even if your fitness level isn’t the greatest, you can begin by hiking shorter, easier trails. This will provide a good workout but not enough to exhaust you. Once you have gained strength and endurance you can start to hike longer, steeper trails.
Bad weather is less of an issue than most people realize. While it might be difficult to hike when it rains or snows, you can do so if the ground becomes wet or covered with snow. The outdoors is something that almost everyone can do year-round.
7. It’s Safe
Hiking can present some dangers but you can minimize them significantly by packing the appropriate hiking clothes.
It is important to dress appropriately. Layers are key. The weather can quickly change so make sure to dress appropriately. Even if it is sunny, bring along a raincoat or a thermal outer layer. Wear hiking boots or trail runners as regular sneakers won’t provide sufficient support or protection.
To be safe, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on gear that isn’t necessary for hiking.
- Water: For every hour you plan on hiking, take 500 ml. More water is always better!
- Food is food high in calories and that provides energy in an emergency. Snickers and trail mix are two popular options.
- Basic First Aid Kit. A store-bought basic first aid kit should be adequate for most situations. You should have basic supplies like bandages or antibiotic ointment. The kit must also contain foot-specific remedies, such as moleskin and athletic taping.
- Lighter or Matches If you’re stranded or the weather is bad, you can light a campfire.
Keep your gear safe and organized in a durable, lightweight backpack. It is important to have enough gear for safety, but not enough that the backpack takes too much out of your shoulders.