Take a Hike!

Article posted in: Fitness

Today is National Take a Hike Day. Now, that could mean it’s a day designed to allow you to tell people to get lost, but we’d prefer to think of it as a day to celebrate the beauty and benefits of walking off-road. I love hiking. It’s an amazing way to connect with so many different things—nature, family, myself, friends—while getting some great exercise. After all, hiking is nothing more than walking, albeit usually in a pretty place, and walking off-pavement burns more calories than walking on a sidewalk or track. Here are some tips on how to get started, and how to enjoy your next hike:

  • Don’t confuse taking a hike with mountain climbing. You don’t need tons of fancy equipment, and you don’t even necessarily need fancy shoes. If you’re walking on a dirt path or rec trail, sneakers are fine. If the trail is rocky or rugged, you might want to consider getting some sturdy shoes.
  • You don’t need to carry a giant pack. You only need to carry a backpack if you’re going to be out for a while and need food and water, or if the conditions are variable and you’ll need extra clothing.
  • Bring a friend. Most hikes are far more fun if you share them with someone. Hiking is a great way to introduce kids to the outdoor, and if you can see some wildlife or cool plants, so much the better.
  • You can walk at your own pace. Match how you feel to the terrain. It’s not a race, so there’s no need to be huffing and puffing. Take time to enjoy the scenery and your surroundings. Are you hiking with someone? Enjoy the conversation.
  • Know where you’re going. If you’re headed up a trail, make sure you know where the trail leads and what the terrain is like. Read up before you head out, and let someone know where you’re going.
  • Are you parking at a trail head parking lot? Be sure to lock your car, and don’t leave any valuables in plain sight.